Autumn Festivals: National Apple Harvest Festival
My National Apple Harvest Festival Experience.
October will be here before we know it. My how time flies. Summer ends and the children begin to settle back into the routine of school. As the mid-Atlantic nights become cooler and the days slightly shorter, I begin to dread winter. The good news is that as summer ends in the mid-Atlantic, there are still some things to do before the snow and cold hits.
Each year, one of the things I always look forward to is the National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville, Pennsylvania. I enjoy the apples and apple-related foods, the country setting, antique cars and tractors, bluegrass music, and the multitude of booths with interesting items for sale. Let me give you a peek at the National Apple Harvest Festival.
Image Credit: Dawn Rae -- All Rights Reserved
The National Apple Harvest Festival was started more than 48 years ago by the Adams County Fruitgrowers Association after having successfully run “Apple Blossom Sunday” since the early 1950’s. In 1961, the first “Apple Harvest Holiday” was held.
In 1975, the festival expanded to 2 weekends and continues to be held on the first 2 full weekends of October each year. The festival has only closed two times due to bad weather, and for only one day of the festival.— excerpts from the National Apple Harvest Festival website
The National Apple Harvest Festival is held at the local fairgrounds in Arendtsville, PA. It is not terribly far from Ghettysburg, PA. The area is beautiful. The drive up from Baltimore feels a smidge long but the rolling hills, farming countryside, and historic landmarks are a wonderful distraction while passing the miles. One day we’ll take time to get out at some of the battlefield sites in Ghettysburg. But so far, every year, we drive up early, stay all day, and leave in the late afternoon. By then, I’m too sated to get out of the car and walk around and sightsee. Someday I will.
Why I love the apple festival: I guess I’m a country girl at heart, and living on the outskirts of Baltimore gets to me sometimes. I long for the grumble of farm machinery, the smell of wood smoke, and live bluegrass music. I also love the festival for the amazing food; much of it apple-based. However, there are plenty of other things to pig out on if you don’t care for apples. There is live entertainment in the forms of tractor square dances, native American Indian dance demonstration, and blue grass music. In addition, there are always a variety of other things to see.
A few of the things I've bought at National Apple Harvest Festival
But don't feel limited by my list. Almost everything imaginable is for sale. Hand-made jewelry, yard ornaments, birdhouses, toys. Art work, wine, and nice solid wood furniture. There is absolutely something for everyone.
- Scrapple, Egg, and Cheese sandwich.
- Stonefield Soaps goat milk soap.
- Wild Bill Soda and Wild Bill Soda barrel (seems expensive, but the barrel has been my favorite mug for years)
- Apples, Applesauce, Apple Butter, and Apple Cider.
- Hand painted ceramic (or stoneware?) bowls.
- Wool Ponchos (great for camping, evening bonfires on the beach, autumn hiking...)
- Carmel Apples, Apple Pie, Elephant Ears, and Apple Dumplings.
- Fried Oysters, BBQ sandwiches, and Sausage sandwiches.
- Rubber band guns.
- Wooden shingle.
My Tips and Advice.
Be prepared. Dress in layers if you go up early. Watch the weather forecast and be prepared. Usually the weather is fantastic, sunny and warm as the day progresses. But there have been some weekends that it rains. Wear comfy shoes. It’s a fairground setting, plenty of uneven ground.
Arrive early. We never have trouble parking, or waiting in long lines when we arrive. But by the time we leave, the lines are as long as some amusement park rides and the line of traffic coming in is a rolling stop and go for miles. Be patient if you come late (and remember, the local folks still have to cross the road to go about their lives; be a thoughtful tourist and don’t block intersections).
Bring some cash. Some vendors accept credit/debit cards. However, it’s easier to do cash and carry up at that very rural area. I have always found an ATM machine on the grounds but I prefer to bring cash.
Transportation and parking. Find the address and directions to the fairgrounds on their website As you come closer to the area, follow the signs. Park in the parking fields.. Enjoy the school bus ride shuttle from the parking fields to the fairgrounds. Remember what field you are in (there are plenty of signs at the field and on the buses) so you can be sure to board the correct bus when your feet are tired, your tummy is full, and you are already to nap instead of concentrate.
Things To See
There are more than enough things to see here in a single day. Every year the HUGE car show grows larger. There is the old tractor show and diesel engines exhibit. Crafts. Crafts. And more crafts. Have you ever heard of scrapple? Before living in Maryland, I had never heard of scrapple. Now I love it. As soon as we arrive, we make a beeline for the scrapple sandwich stand next to the main gate. Yummy! You can see a vendor making scrapple.
Helpful Links - Places for more information.
- National Apple Harvest Festival webpage
Check out the official Apple Harvest Festival site for current information each.
- Wild Bill Soda and Wild Bill's awesome mugs
I LOVE these mugs!
- Stonefield Soaps webpage
I love a large variety of soaps. I look for these soaps every year at the Apple Harvest Festival.
- A MUST SEE squidoo lens if you have ever considered making apple pies.
Want to make pies but feel intimidated? This article is a must-read!
- Apple Blossom Festival
This is similar to the Apple Harvest Festival, but it is held annually in May.