The cool breeze of autumn is officially here. The humidity has said its goodbyes for the year, and we are free to feel cool temperatures and watch the leaves dance in shades of orange, yellow and red.
When fall is in the air, most have pumpkins on their minds. While pumpkin patches and corn mazes are commonly found in New England, apples are an often underrated fall treat. The South Windsor Democratic Town Committee is changing that with their annual South Windsor Apple Harvest Festival. For three years, the team has dedicated their time to show the community that apples are not only appreciated, but are best from South Windsor.
South Windsor is known for having an expanse of apple orchards. The town is home to bountiful orchards such as Draghi Farm and Orchard Hill Farm. Showcasing the shiny fruit is important to the South Windsor Democratic Town Committee, but most important, is bringing the community together.
As Andrew Paterna, co-chairman of the Apple Harvest Festival Planning Team stated, “I’m a firm believer that we should be supporting local. It’s all about building community.”
Building community is what the South Windsor Democratic Town Committee does best. Annually, the South Windsor Apple Harvest Festival draws in a crowd of over 1,000 guests. With each year, the group volunteers to set-up and operate the event. It’s all hands on deck to ensure that the local festival goes off without a hitch year after year. “The event may start at 10a.m., but we are there by 8a.m. setting up,” Andrew shared.
The South Windsor Democratic Town Committee also incorporates South Windsor residents in the Apple Harvest Festival. Live entertainment always includes an extensive list of South Windsor native talent. If not South Windsor, neighbors of the community such as residents of Manchester are also featured. Musicians and dancers showcase their talents for a lively crowd. “This gives them a chance to get exposure, and it’s a nice connection with the community.”
What would an Apple Harvest Festival be without apples? Guests always attend with empty stomachs and hearty appetites. The apple-themed dining options are endless, including apple pie, apple fritters, apple cider, apple crisp, apple chutney and apple cider donuts. As Andrew said, “We try to have as many apple-related items as we can.”
It’s not just about the apples at the Apple Harvest Festival. An array of foods is offered, with new additions for 2018 including Thai food, kettle corn, wood-fired pizza, potato pancakes and crepes. For those with a gluten allergy, gluten-free wraps will also be available. There’s truly something for everyone.
The core of the event is apples, but there are always plenty of opportunities to shop at the festival. Annually, anywhere up to 75 vendors have tables showcasing goods such as jewelry, soap, clothing, artwork, wooden signs, birdhouses and more. Community groups also have their own set-ups. This year will include Book Club Bookstore. The South Windsor Democratic Town Committee promises that “There will be a good mix of different vendors.”
While shopping may be a good time for parents and adults, there’s never a shortage of activities for the kids as well. The Apple Harvest Festival is family focused and packed with fall fun. Children can enjoy attractions such as pony rides, a bounce house and a “roaming railroad” mini train ride. For artistic little ones, there is also face painting and pumpkin painting. No matter what new activities are introduced at the festival, kids always have a blast.
Thanks to the South Windsor Democratic Town Committee, locals have the opportunity to enjoy the delicious apples of South Windsor. With each year, the crowd of residents grows, and so does the non-stop fun. Join in on the joy of apples and local activities for the third annual South Windsor Apple Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 7, from 11a.m.-4p.m. at the Nevers Park’s Rotary Pavilion in South Windsor.