Every year my friends and I go to the nearest orchard and pick apples, tons of apples; At least five bushels! We spend an entire weekend cooking, peeling, canning and making apple sauce and apple butter (If you’ve never had apple butter on toast or cottage cheese, I recommend finding the nearest farmer’s stand and trying this deliciousness). This will become one of the many homemade Christmas gifts I make to put under my tree. As with apple season comes apple festivals. I like to go to the festival in one of the largest apple growing counties, Adams County in Pennsylvania. Every year Adams County has two festivals, one for the apple blossoms, where hundreds of trees bloom with flowers. You can always go to Washington D.C. to see the same but there is something about traveling down a back road in the country on a spring day and enjoying the scenery that captivates me. The second festival is the Apple Harvest Festival. It’s a two week event located in the heart of Adams County. I park a mile away and take a school bus to the festival. School buses are used to take you to and from the event as there are so many people who come. Once there I am over-whelmed by all the goodies. Apples are made in every desirable way possible. I’ve tried apple fritters, apple pie, apple crumb cake, apple funnel cake, apple pancakes; it’s like being in a Forest Gump movie but only better.
As I’m munching down on a caramel apple I’ll linger over to the arts and crafts area. The vendors line up their little shops and put out their best hand crafted items. I’m always amazed at the originality. The crafters are everywhere, whether it’s outside tents or in the large buildings, they are the second main attraction, at least 300 crafters will be here. You will get lost in all the sights to see, pick up and buy.
As much as I love discovering something new to put in my home, my favorite section of the Apple Festival are the farm animals. There are usually calves, pigs, bunnies, goats, chickens and ponies. The petting zoo isn’t for everyone but if you’re curious and never been around these types of animals, this is a definite must see.
Children will have a wonderful time face painting and entering the pie eating contest. Ponies will be available for rides. A section of the festival will be carved out for crafting. Puppet shows will be held. Children can participate in Karaoke and play old fashioned games.
Farmer’s will be here with their antique farm equipment and tractors. Classic cars will be on display with their proud owners. Artists will be showing off their talent in the chainsaw carving event. You can learn to make scrapple and apple syrup, take a hay ride and tour a local apple orchard. Just like the children you can take part in the pie eating contest and apple bobbing contest. Listen to the live music from the stage while chowing down sweet potato fries, rib eye steak sandwiches and chicken barbecue.
As the festival comes to an end and you’ve exhausted yourself with all the attractions, food and activities you’re able to take home plenty of desserts. A must for me are apple dumplings. I freeze them and on cold nights, I take a few out, warm them up, dollop a huge scoop vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy the fall season and all the wonderful memories it has brought me, including apples. Lots and lots of apples!