By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Apple Harvest finished its 2015 run with a successful and crowded final weekend.
Thousands filled the downtown area Friday through Sunday for an arts and crafts fair, live entertainment, fireworks, and even more contests.
Though the final results are still filing in, the festival’s first weekend featured nine apple fritter eating champions.
In the youngest age group, ages seven to 11, William Haberski took first prize, followed by Brayden Jean and Jared Hoadley.
Following in ages 12 to 17, Ryan Biorklund ate the most fritters, with Lucas Gagnon coming in second and Daniel Marciano tying up the race in third.
For the adult bracket, Donna Fappiano finished first, followed by Nick Gilbert and Bill Haddock.
Michael Kayanski took the adult first prize medal for the apple pie eating contest, with Sara Gennard and Emily Sutherland coming in close behind by eating impressive amounts of pie.
Though the first evening of the festival saw heavy rains and an early close, the sun shined just enough on Sat. Oct. 3 to make the annual bed races possible.
For the past two years poor weather had canceled the contest, and festival coordinators were worried the races would be stopped again.
Southington Fire Department Company No. 3 took full advantage of the clear weather, coming in first in the bed race for a prize of $150.
Following in second with a $75 prize was the “Get Your Finger Out of Your Apple” group, with Southington Community Services in third earning $50.
While the first weekend saw bed races, the Apple Harvest Road Race and Little Fritter runs, the second weekend hosted dozens of local artists and entertainers.
Booths were set up with vendors selling their artistic creations, ranging from wine bottle made lamps to puppets to hand knitted scarves. The arts and craft area allowed little ones a chance to have their face painted, create sand art pieces and take their photo with some of their favorite characters.
Elizabeth McNally, an artist from New Britain, showed off her paintings and drawings in her first year at the festival. The artist offered several pieces for sale while filling up canvases as she drew new designs at her booth on Center St. on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 10.
Southington Community Cultural Arts hosted a neighboring booth, promoting their new center for artists in town with “SoCCA” t-shirts and information on the new organization.
Showing off more of the town’s creative talents, several Southington residents were recognized for their poster designs and photographic eye.
Mia Langston and Giovanna Paulus earned prizes for the poster designs, and Debra Lemieux was recognized for second place in the photography category.
Deborah Ruzzi’s images took first and third place in the photo contest, where photographers were asked to create photos that showed off community pride and all things apple.
Co-Chairman of the festival’s Supervisory Committee Chris Palmieri said the town “truly saw the pride we have in our community over the last two weekends.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.
Photos by TAMMI NAUDUS
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