Holding an end-of-summer carnival used to be an annual event we all could agree was good for the community.

The rides. The games. The food and music.

But in today’s world, there seems to be nothing we all can agree on. Is there?

Our state and local leaders, I believe, are doing everything they believe is right to help us through the pandemic. For many of them, they’re the decision-makers for how we battle through and for which annual events will go on.

An event that hasn’t been called off this year is the annual Corn Palace Festival, which will occupy a portion of our Main Street at the end of this month. For some, it will be an opportunity to spend the evening out of the house, chowing on deep-fried foods and enjoying the spins, slides and whirls.

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For others, they’ll view the carnival as a mass gathering of people spreading the disease and causing our county’s cases to rise. They’ll want no part in it.

But who wants to be the group that calls off the annual carnival? Who wants to take away the smiles and laughs that are so very-much needed right now? When we can allow individuals to decide what’s best for themselves, why shut down something that’s so darn good?

That is what brings me to caramel apples.

Earlier this month, letters were sent to dozens of Mitchell businesses about the annual Woolworth’s Caramel Apple sales. As stated in the letter, it’s a tradition held in Mitchell since 1959 to sell these delicious treats, with the benefits going to Mitchell Main Street and the Carnegie Resource Center.

This year, the Woolworth Caramel Apple crew is trying a new spin on sales. Here’s a few lines directly from our letter on the changes.

“If you'd like to spread the love, you may sponsor a case of apples for our community’s essential workers — first-responders, teachers, nurses, doctors, anyone and everyone you can think of who could use a sweet pick-me-up during another day of the pandemic. The cost is $300 for a case of 80. We’ll deliver and let those workers know you appreciate them. We’re organizing a list of people and businesses willing to accept donations, so you can donate to that general list, or you can tell us a specific group you’d like to send apples, such as all Mitchell High School faculty members.

Speaking of the Mitchell School District, they'll also be benefitting from all apple sales this year. We will be donating the first $1,000 of our profits to the district for items such as hand sanitizer, face masks or anything else needed to help keep our schools clean.

We’ve put some feelers out in the community and folks are supportive after learning our intentions to be cautious and abide by health and safety guidelines. And, we’re happy to bring a slice — delicious apple slices — of joy during this crazy world we live in.”

On Friday morning, as this column is being assembled, one Mitchell business has already put in an order for Mitchell’s Public Safety Center workers. We have a list of essential employees ready to be filled, and we’re asking for orders to be called in by Wednesday, Aug. 12 to give us time to purchase our apples and caramel. If you don’t want to sponsor, that’s just fine. Individual apple orders are still being taken for $4 each for businesses, and we have an apple hotline to call at 605-202-5658. You can even sponsor a portion of a case if you'd like.

So why do I care so much about these caramel apples? I’m helping organize this event for the first time this year. And when we had to decide whether to offer and sell them during the festival, we didn’t want to be the group to let people down by halting a wonderful tradition.

And this year, hopefully we’ve made it a little better than in the past.

Enjoying caramel apples, supporting essential workers and helping Mitchell School District is an initiative that’s great for the community. And I think that’s something we all can agree on.