By Lindsay Carey
The first weekend of the Apple Harvest Festival brought in crowds for Family Night on Friday and the parade on Sunday, despite the rain showers that caused the event’s cancellation on Saturday.
Between the opening ceremonies and Family Night, the festival was packed on Friday. Families and friends chowed down on their favorite Apple Harvest Festival foods, something they anticipate every year.
Family Night was also a hit, because of the carnival rides.
“People were able to take advantage of all the carnival rides with one wristband,” said Chris Palmieri, co-chair of the Supervisory Committee. “I think it went really well.”
For the first time this year, there will be Family Night on the second Friday of the festival as well.
The rain on Saturday forced the committee to make cancellations and postpone certain events.
“We started by closing up until five, but then we had to make decision around 2 p.m. and we decided not to open,” said Palmieri. “It’s a good thing, because there was a torrential downpour.”
The Apple Fritter Booth was the only booth that opened on Saturday, despite the rain.
The bed races were expected to make a big come back at the festival this year, after not being held for a couple years. Mary DeCroce was leading the races, with nine beds signed up.
However, because of the rain on Saturday, the highly anticipated bed races were cancelled completely from the festival. Palmieri said there was no other time available to reschedule them.
The fireworks were rescheduled to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11.
“So many of our neighboring communities have fireworks at other times of the year, but no one really does them in October,” said Palmieri. “The fireworks display draws people to the festival.”
Another event that brings people to the festival is the annual parade.
According to Palmieri, the parade brought in record crowds this year. For some people, the parade is simply tradition.
Barbara Kane and Mike Sapia were sitting in lawn chairs along the street, eating food. The festival is a yearly even for them, as the come for the food, the parade and the good times.
“We come every year,” Sapia said.
“That’s what we come for,” Kane said, referring to the annual parade, which was held Sunday afternoon.
Cheryl Manka said she has been coming to the festival for 40 years. This year, she had the opportunity to watch her grandson march in the parade with Kennedy Middle School.
She said she also enjoys the festival, because of the food and the rides.
“We like to go to the rides with the grandson,” she said.
Manka also noted that she has seen the festival has grown over the years.
“It’s gotten bigger. Much bigger,” said Manka.
Festival attendees can look forward to Harvest the Arts for the second weekend of the festival, which will include book signings by CT authors, live action painting, pottery throwing, interactive art projects for the family, live music and more.
There will also be an interactive light show, called Light Artists Making Places (L.A.M.P.), on Friday, Oct. 10 from 7-9.
Editor Ed Harris contributed to this report.
By Lindsay Carey