Johnny Appleseed Festival to see return of apple butter

LISBON — This year’s Johnny Appleseed Festival will feature the return of apple butter.

The Yellow Creek Grange and the apple butter it made and sold had been a fixture at the JAF since the first festival was held in 1967. The organization dropped out last year due to the advancing age of grange members, many of whom were in their 90s. Their absence was noticed, however, with JAF officials saying they received more than a hundred inquiries about what became of the the elderly gentlemen who stirred the large copper kettle of apple butter hanging over a wood fire.

“There was a lot of people who missed it last year. I had no idea how much apple butter they sold,” said Marilyn McCullough, director of the Lisbon Area Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the JAF.

The chamber thought about taking it on themselves but later went looking for an organization that makes apple butter and participates in fall festivals. The chamber found Wholesome Valley Farms of Wilmot, which agreed to participate in the JAF.

Held this upcoming Saturday and Sunday in historic downtown Lisbon, this year’s JAF will again feature numerous food and craft vendors (more than 30 each to be exact), amusement rides for the children, live music, various displays and activities, and much more.

McCullough said they always try to add new activities and this year is no different. For the first time a group of World War II re-enactors will be bivouacked in the town square and perform both days, while members of ATG Worldwide are to put on special operations demonstration at 6 p.m. in the stage area.

Anyone wanting to join a drum circle can do so, which will be held around the gazebo at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the drums provided. She said the West Point Lions Club will host fun bingo games at the former Bad Frogs tavern from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Also new is an apple-themed cute baby costume contest from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, a scavenger hunt for older children at 5 p.m. Saturday, and a talent show from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Prior to the start of the JAF on Saturday there will be the annual 5K run, starting at 9 a.m., the same time the queens’ breakfast will be held for the JAF queen contestants and past queens at St. George’s Catholic Church Development Center.

The festival will officially begin with the grand parade at 11 a.m., with this year’s theme being the 50th anniversary of the JAF. The chamber is selling commemorative plates marking the anniversary, along with T-shirts, charms, koozies and Christmas ornaments. This is the last year the chamber will be producing JAF commemorative plates for sale.

Following the parade, the queen will be crowned at the stage, along with the winner of the Little Miss Appleblossom and Little Mr. Applebud contests. Winners of the art contests at the elementary and junior/senior high schools will also be announced then.

Live entertainment on the stage begins with the Tribute Band, which will perform from 1 to 3 p.m., Bettie Lee Dance Studio at 4 p.m,. McLaughlin Martial Arts at 5 p.m., Hawt Shots Dance Studio at 5:30 p.m., followed by the ATG demonstration and then the talent contest. Closing out the day on Saturday will the MEGA band, which performs from 7:30-11 p.m.

Also going on Saturday will be demonstrations by Quaker Carvers and spinners, a balloon man, and local artist and village Mayor Joe Morenz. An apple pie baking contest will be held at the gazebo at 4 p.m.

Sunday’s festivities will begin with a church service at the Lisbon Assembly of God at 11 a.m., and the live entertainment will begin with Just Us at noon, followed by the Village Singers at 2 p.m., the Pure Gold Band at 2:30 p.m., the Country Line Dancers at 4:30 p.m. and Finding Sparking, performing from 5-8 p.m.

Sunday will also feature a classic car show from 1-4 p.m. at the New Lisbon Presbyterian Church, the always popular pet parade at 1 p.m., a pedal tractor race for children on South Jefferson Street from 2:15-5 p.m., and an ice cream eating contest at 3 p.m. at the picnic tables near the grandstand.

Also going on will be free games for children, a book sale at the Lepper Library, a photography show near the Methodist Church, a quilt display in the train station on South Market Street, and a display of artwork by Lisbon youth at Dashing Divas.

“We couldn’t pack any more in,” McCullough said.