Edinburgh Fall Festival reworked; “Quarantine” Queen Contest planned

In a year when many traditions have been canceled, the Town of Edinburgh found a way to celebrate fall festival traditions more safely.

The Edinburgh Fall Festival, a tradition since 1859, normally runs for three consecutive days in September. But this year, the festivities are being spread out over the four Thursdays in September.

Community organizations are, instead, bringing festival favorites to the weekly Edinburgh Farmers Market this month. The market runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Thursday, outside the John R. Drybread Community Center, 100 E. Main Cross Street.

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In addition to regular farmer’s market vendors, local sorority Edinburgh Beta Sigma Phi plans to bring pulled pork sandwiches to today’s market, while another organization will bring lemon shake-ups, town officials said.

Since festival booths serve as major fundraisers for local organizations, setting up at the farmer’s market allows organizations to raise the money they need to continue programs, scholarships and community services next year.

Another tradition, the Edinburgh Delta Sigma chapter of Tri Kappa’s Fall Festival Queen contest, has also adapted to the changes. Seeing that the usual pageant was unlikely, each group that helps organize the fall festival entered a member in the “Quarantine Queen” contest, said Kami Ervin, Tri Kappa vice president and queen contest chair.

The contest typically involves fundraisers organized by local teens girls. But this year, candidates were adult women who organized events with the help of their organizations, Ervin said. Candidates this year are Jackie Oltman of Tri Kappa, Tracy Beier of Edinburgh Parks and Recreation and April Burton of the Edinburgh Lions Club.

“They are coming up with fundraisers either on their own or with their organization, and their organization gets to keep the money they raise. The queen will still be the person who raises the most money, but in this contest, everybody wins,” Ervin said.

Though modified, Tri Kappa was able to keep the 64-year tradition alive and still make a difference in the community, Ervin said. All the money raised will be given back to the organization after it is counted, so the organization can use it for projects next year, she said.

The top fundraising candidate will be crowned Quarantine Queen Oct. 1. Candidates have until Sept. 27 to raise funds. For more information about the fundraisers, visit each organization on Facebook.

The festival and contest have never missed a year, barring 2008, when floods and tornadoes devastated the town and the county, she said.

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Edinburgh Fall Festival

What: Community organizations will bring fall fundraisers to the Edinburgh Farmers Market, in addition to the town’s usual vendors offering produce, flowers and other goods. 

When: 4 to 7 p.m. today and Sept. 24 

Where: Outside the John R. Drybread Community Center, 100 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh.