The National Apple Harvest Festival began more than 40 years ago by the Adams County Fruitgrowers Association after having successfully run Apple Blossom Sunday since the early 1950's. In 1961, under the chairmanship of Donald Trostel and Clair Fetters, the "1st Apple Harvest Holiday" was held on Sunday, October 14th.
The Upper Adams Jaycees, chartered in 1962 and eager for a fund-raiser, contacted the Fruitgrowers and after negotiations, attempted to organize the event themselves in 1965. With only $200.00 in the treasury, Co-Chairmen Robert Reed and Mac Lott were named to head up the project. The Apple Harvest Festival got its official debut on Sunday, October 9, 1965.
Featured attractions were an antique car display, the apple cider press (still used today), an apple butter boil, pony rides, orchard bus tours, apples desserts, apple and apple product sales, candy apples, commercial displays, souvenir booth, the 1965 Apple Blossom Queen and a Dutch style meal.
The festival expanded to two weekends in 1975 and by 1985 the Festival had grown beyond the wildest dreams of the early organizers. Today the Festival includes over 300 Arts and dealers, with a craft demonstration area, indoor and outdoor stages for musical entertainment, a pie auction with the proceeds being donated to St. Jude's Childrens Hospital, petting zoo, apple bobbing, pie eating contests, and more.
Our entertainment in recent years has expanded and includes demonstrations of Native American dancing, Andes Mountain Music, Tractor Square Dancing, Chainsaw Carving, and a display of live birds of prey by Rehabitat. Of course there are Apple product sales and food . . . delicious smelling and tasting food . . . chicken and pork barbecue; pit beef; sausage ; rib eye steak sandwiches; funnel cakes; apple fritters; pancakes and syrup; fresh made scrapple; apple butter hot from the kettle; applesauce made from scratch right before your eyes.