Ashland celebrates autumn’s arrival with annual Applefest
ASHLAND — It was not the best weather to come to an outdoor event on Saturday, but people still came to brave damp and chilly air to enjoy the 15th annual Ashland Applefest.
The rain overnight and into the morning began to let up at the start of the event at 11 a. m., with temperatures in the mid- to high 40s. The sun began to peak out going toward noon, and patches of blue sky were good signs through the afternoon that things would stay dry.
The day started out slow, but not
long after noon, more and more people entered the park and long
lines developed at the popular food vendors. People went to the pavilion to enjoy the delicacies, or had them bagged to take home. Children played at the swing sets and other recreation equipment.
The event was sponsored by the Martha Washington Ladies Auxiliary and Washington Fire Company No. 1 of Ashland. Applefest is a community event created by Ash
land Downtown Inc. in 2004 that features an apple theme in many dif-
ferent ways, originally to bring people to the downtown as part of the overall effort to revitalize the business district, and in doing, do the same for the borough as a whole.
For the first 11 years, ADI organized the event, but there was a change in 2015 with the auxiliary taking over to keep the tradition going.
Due to a conflict for available space last year in the downtown, Applefest was relocated to Eureka Park, which proved to be successful in providing more space for vendors and visitors to enjoy the food, games and the park itself. The turnout was very good and organizers decided to keep it this year at the borough park.
Auxiliary member and organizer Gail Jones explained that the venue change was done since changing the date would cause another problem.
“The church ( Good Shepherd Lutheran Church) last year had a wedding, so we couldn’t use their parking lot in the back, which had been used prior to that,” Jones said. “We didn’t really have the option to move the date because we were already secured with Bissinger’s ( Apple Dumplings) for that date. We tried to find a bigger place that would work for everybody. Other places were brought up, but the park seemed most convenient. It was a slower start because of the weather in the morning last year,
but it picked up and we definitely had a nice crowd by 1 o’clock and stayed that way until the end.”
A first- time attendee to Apple fest was Amber Jeglosky, a resident of Ash
land for three years who came to the borough with her family from Minnesota.
“This is my first time here,” Jeglosky said while enjoying a hot apple dump
ling topped with cinnamon ice cream. “This is really good. We heard that there were going to be more bands, more vendors, we decided to stop by and what is being offered.”
For entertainment, Applefest began the first two hours with live music by Dave Evans, of Pine Grove, and the remaining hours were filled with live music by the band After Dark.
In addition to Bissinger’s, vendors included Vince’s Famou s C h e es e st e a ks, Grilled Cheese Cafe 2, Wilburton Fire Company, May’s Drive In, Valley Farms & Greenhouse and Tastefully Simple. Other food choices included bleenies, pierogies, french fries, pizza, hot dogs, and shish kebabs being made by Hanan Hemey, of Shenandoah.
There were numerous craft vendors, games and prizes, face painting and pumpkin decorating for children. There was also a large theme basket auction that had great prizes, including bicycles.
Rylan Taylor, 9, of Grantville, shows the pumpkin he decorated while attending the Ashland Applefest on Saturday.
ABOVE: Hanan Hemey, of Shenandoah, makes shish kebabs Saturday at the Ashland Applefest. LEFT: Austin Bissinger, of Bissinger’s Apple Dumplings in Bloomsburg, peels apples. The festival featured live music by Dave Evans, of Pine Grove, and the band After Dark.