By Lindsay Carey
This year’s collection of Apple Harvest Festival hostesses said they always looked up to the former hostesses when they were young and hoped to one day represent Southington themselves.
“You always see them in the parades and when you’re little you see them as princesses,” said Marissa Sisco. “And then when you actually get to be one, it’s a great experience to have other girls look up to you.”
The 2014 Apple Harvest Hostesses are Sisco, Nicole Fischer, Sarah Palko, Megan Palumbo, Katie Spangholetti, Alexa Taylor, Nicole White, and Jennifer Wong.
The hostesses were chosen after being interviewed by a panel of three adults and according to festival coordinator Jim Champagne, each girl this year had something in common: They all mentioned having the hostesses in the past having made a big impression on them, because of their sashes and friendly smiles.
Champagne added that the girls were chosen based on enthusiasm, personality, and community service.
“I always liked that they stood out and were taking control and leading people,” said Fischer. “It’s not just like we’re just walking through it, we’re part of it.”
For the first time this year, the group is led by former Apple Harvest Festival Queen Alyssa Pappas. She said this group of hostesses has been particularly reliable in returning her phone calls to coordinate their schedules and showing up to all of the events.
“They’ve prepped for the festival really well,” said Pappas. “It’s awesome, because a lot of people don’t see this whole back side of the Apple Harvest Festival. It takes before the festival ever comes around and its little things like the Music on the Green that help hype up the festival.”
The hostesses have been attending Apple Harvest Committee meetings to learn the background behind everything and the amount of work that goes into putting the festival together every year. In turn, Pappas said this helps the hostesses develop a greater appreciation for the festival.
“You see a whole new side of the festival when you see how it’s all created,” said White. “You get to be what makes people happy, you get to say I helped do that.”
Every Wednesday since the first week of July, the hostesses serve a pasta supper at the Elks Lodge and then attend the Music on the Green.
“I personally love these Wednesday nights that we do, because there’s a lot of elderly people and they just get so happy to see us we’re serving them,” said Sisco. “Going to the Music on the Green and seeing them all have a great time and all the little kids. It just puts a smile on everyone’s face.”
Champagne said the committee has never seen a group of hostesses before that have attracted so many young children.
“All eight of them are extraordinary,” said Champagne. “They’re tremendous ambassadors for the town and for the Apple Harvest Festival.”
The hostesses were also active volunteers at the Taste of Southington and the Italian American Festival earlier this summer. The Apple Harvest Festival Hostesses serve as physical reminders of the upcoming festival throughout the summer.
Still to come is the Bristol Mum Parade and the Apple Harvest Festival Gala, where a queen will be crowned.
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By Lindsay Carey