Cherry Fair 2016

Children compete in a cherry pie eating contest at Cove’s Cherry Fair in August 2016. The pandemic led to the fair’s cancellation in 2020, but the event returns this year due to the improving situation with the coronavirus.

COVE — The Cove Cherry Fair is being revived again, this time after a break of just one year, not 83.

The annual Cove Cherry Fair, which was essentially canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, is set to be celebrated this year on Aug. 21 because of declining COVID-19 infection rates in Union County.

The fair again will be conducted at the Ascension School Camp and Conference Center. Planning for the event began after it received the green light from leaders of the Cove facility, said Cindy Edwards, the director of the Cove Cherry Fair.

Events scheduled at the fair include its annual parade, which will start at 10 a.m. and kicks off the 2021 event. The parade will follow Highway 237 from Ash Street to Church Street. The parade will be open to anyone but political floats will not be allowed. The Cove Cherry Fair Parade also was conducted in 2020 but all other fair events were canceled.

“It was the only fun thing that happened in Union County last year,” said Edwards, noting she believes all other Union County parades were canceled in 2020.

This year’s parade again will end at the Ascension School Camp and Conference Center, where families and residents will be able to play games, go on rides and eat fair food.

The Cherry Fair is welcoming all types of vendors — artists/artisans, crafters, entrepreneurs and community groups. Information on signing up for the festival is available on the website of the Cove Cherry Fair,

The fair’s history, like a cherry cracked by heavy rain, is split. The fair started in 1911 and ran each summer through 1917. It was then discontinued for 83 years before being revived in 2000.

The fair’s first run was an experience for organizers. So popular was the event it sometimes drew a reported 3,000 people, according to a 2000 story in The Observer. The event was so big that another local newspaper reported Union was virtually vacant one weekend because so many had ventured to Cove for the cherry festival.

Edwards has been the director of the fair since 2013 but will step down after this year’s fair.

“It has been very fulfilling,” said Edwards, who said she will continue to participate in the fair after this year as a volunteer.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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