By Rob Glidden
With the Apple Harvest only about a month away, eight Southington girls have been keeping themselves busy with numerous appearances as Apple Harvest Hostesses.
This year’s hostesses are Katie Klein, Mary Nadeau, Elise Bean, Rachel Proffitt, Alyssa Pappas, Shawna Sycz, Sarah Caisse and Abigail Judd.
“We’ve got another great group,” said hostess coordinator Kim Horton. “They get along and work together very well.”
In the months before the festival, the hostesses appear at several other Southington events, including the Italian-American Festival, the Taste of Southington, Music on the Green concerts and the pasta dinners at the Elks Lodge, where they serve the meals and talk with the guests.
“It was the volunteering part that interested me,” Judd said. “I really like volunteer work and I’ve done more as a hostess than I expected.”
Aspiring hostesses are interviewed by the festival’s organizers. A history of community service activities makes a big difference, and the girls will be balancing their duties with many other activities.
“It’s so much fun to be involved in the community and to be a representative of the town,” Klein said.
Many of the girls have memories from their childhood days of watching past hostesses wander the festival in their distinctive red shirts and sashes.
“When I first moved here, I saw all the girls with the sashes and I wanted to be one of them,” Pappas said. “I really love the community feel of the Apple Harvest.”
Sycz added that, “I always looked up to the hostesses. This definitely lives up to my expectations.”
Hostess Rachel Proffitt said she had been encouraged to join the group by a friend who was a 2011 hostess.
“I heard about how much fun it was and how many new friends you made,” she said. “I was really excited when I found out I would get to be a hostess.”
Shortly before the event, the annual Gala will be held and one of the girls will be selected Apple Harvest Queen. This is a longstanding tradition, but the coordinators emphasize that the hostesses are meant to work as a team, not as competitors.
“I can’t believe that I’m here now,” Nadeau said. “It’s a really nice experience.”