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Naples Grape Fest cancellation hits hard, but village sees tourism spike

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NAPLES, N.Y. (WROC) — “Yep, it’s kind of hard to stomach,” says Mike Joseph, Chairman of the Naples Grape Festival on the cancellation of the annual event.

Joseph says this has been a strange 2020 for everyone, and a odd time for every festival. Like many celebrations this year, Naples called off their famous two-day feast and fair, which dates back to 1961.

“We couldn’t allow 10, 20, 30,000 people to come into the village from all over the country,” he says.

Joseph says unfortunately, with Covid, the move makes perfect sense, but the impact is a hard hit. The festival also serves as a major fund raiser for the Rotary Club and the Historical Society. Yet all is not lost. “We’ve got a whole month of October here to go. The pie bakers…they got pies out there,” he says.

“Everybody’s still here doing their thing,” says Matthew Cadrette of Cindy’s Pies in Naples. Cadrette says there’s actually an uptick of foot traffic in the village this year, thanks to fellow New Yorkers taking ‘staycations’.

“People in the nearby communities have kind of been coming here just to see something different,” says Cadrette.

The Mayor agrees. While the grape fest getting called off was a slice out of the economic pie, Naples is getting it’s share of sightseers and berry enthusiasts. “People didn’t stop doing everything altogether. People did travel, but they traveled more in a local circle,” says Mayor Brian Schenk.

For now, Joseph says Naples is going to be alright, but isn’t hoping for a repeat cancelation in 2021.  “I’ll be looking forward to next year and wondering again…where we’re going to be at this time,” he says.

To plan a day trip to Naples, you can click here.

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