Ash­land cel­e­brates au­tumn’s ar­rival with an­nual Ap­ple­fest

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BY John e. us­alis STAFF WRITER

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.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Ry­lan Tay­lor, 9, of Grantville, shows the pump­kin he dec­o­rated while at­tend­ing the Ash­land Ap­ple­fest on Satur­day.

ANDY MATSKO / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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.

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