Apple Festival a fall tradition

Apple Festival a fall tradition

William Bement, Robert “Trebor Yerf” Frey, and Mary “Yram Yerf” Frey attended the Apple Festival last weekend dressed festively in period costumes. (Photo by Keri Blakinger)

Apple Festival a fall tradition

Kids (and Cinderella dolls) of all ages enjoyed learning a bit about square dancing during the Apple Festival in Newark Valley. (Photo by Keri Blakinger)

Apple Festival a fall tradition

Representing the 4-H Club, Rebbecalyn Barber, Katie Popp, and D’Amone Popp came in period costumes to the Apple Festival. (Photo by Keri Blakinger)

Apple Festival a fall tradition

Brady Mason, 12, and Debra Judson, 13, volunteered at the Apple Festival last weekend. Here they are seen manning the old-fashioned apple butter-making station. (Photo by Keri Blakinger)

Sprinkled showers did little to dampen the mood at this year’s Apple Festival in Newark Valley. The Newark Valley Historical Society hosted the 35th Annual Apple Festival at Bement-Billings Farmstead on Oct. 4 and 5. Marcia Kiechle, a historical society member and event organizer, said, “It’s a family-oriented festival with many, many things for kids of all ages.” The event featured an array of vendors, activities, heritage demonstrations, music, and more.

One of the popular heritage demonstrations was the candle dipping station. Heidi Inderweiss, who has volunteered at the candle station in years past, explained a bit about the process. First colored wax is heated and then, once it’s hot enough, it is poured into a large metal can for dipping. Kids then pick up a piece of wick and dip it into the wax. To make sure the wax hardens before the next layer is applied, they then dip the wick into cold water before dipping in the wax again. Once the wax in the can starts to cool down and harden, it goes back on the heat to be softened again. When asked why she chose to volunteer at the candle dipping station in particular, Inderweiss said, “I like making candles – I make candles for birthday cakes and stuff.”

In addition to the candle making, there were a number of other kid-friendly stations and activities, including horse and wagon rides, pumpkin painting, and a craft table. While there were many activities kids were encouraged to participate in, there were also some that were just for demonstration. The professional demonstrations included everything from woodcarving to lace making, to dulcimer making to weaving, and from spinning to blacksmithing and shooting.

The event also included a variety of local vendors, including Eric Krenner of Cross Creek Farm. (Although he was representing his family’s business, Cross Creek Farm, Krenner also owns a Newark Valley store called The Local, which opened earlier this year.) Krenner was present selling Cross Creek Farm apple butter, but he said that he also had fun venturing over to the old-fashioned apple butter-making tent. When asked what his favorite part of the event was, he said, “I helped with making the apple butter the old fashioned way in a copper pot.”

Tioga County’s 4-H Club was also represented with a fun, animal-filled station. The kids brought along a dog, a duck, and a brown-red Belgian bearded d’Uccle chicken. They also brought old-time activities and historical costumes.

Rebeccalyn Barber, 13, came clad in a Civil War-era dress complete with a full hoop skirt, while fellow 4-H member Katie Popp, 11, came dressed in a simpler 1820’s-style dress. Rebecca Miles, 17, was felting; Victoria Geisenhof, 10, was making felted ornaments; and group leader D’Amone Popp was tatting (which she confidently asserted was easier than it looked).

Aside from all the activities and demonstrations, there was plenty of food for sale. Veronica Riley, a long-time historical society member, was manning the dessert tent. She gave an overview of the panoply of apple-centric dessert offerings, stating, “We have apple pie, apple crisp, candy apples, apple cider, and mulled cider.” Although the desserts weren’t made on site, Riley explained that they were locally purchased from businesses such as Country Wagon Produce, Our Country Hearts Restaurant, and Iron Kettle Farm. The main food tent included items like vegetable soup, barbecue sandwiches, sweet potatoes, salt potatoes, and more.

Apple Festival a fall tradition

Owego resident Kevin Cronk participated at the Newark Valley Apple Festival on Oct. 4 and 5. A member of the “Old Hickory Long Guns” club, he was part of the Newark Valley Historical Society’s black powder guild demonstration. Cronk, pictured in period dress, portrayed a 1780’s long hunter from the Owego area. (Provided Photo)

Throughout both days of the event, there was a steady stream of live music, including performances by Bob Gwinn, Janelle Daddona, Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers, New Appalachia, Nate and Kate, Pat Kane, Curt Osgood and Company, Akoustic Moonshine, Trish and Dannielle, Triton Trio, Hickory Project, and Coal Town Rounders. Owner of Owego’s Black Cat Gallery, Janelle Malia, who attended the event, observed, “The quality of the music is fabulous!”

Predictably, the event attracted some notable locals, including Newark Valley Mayor Jim Tornatore. Tornatore acknowledged that the dismal weather on Saturday affected the event turnout, but noted that it did not affect the amount of fun people had. He said, “All events are subject to weather conditions, but the great fun that we’re all having here today is not impacted by the weather. There’s good music, great food, and good fun with nice people.”

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