Meet the 2016 Apple Harvest Committee: Jim Champagne has been the face of the festival for 9 years

Apple Harvest Festival chair Jim Champagne

Apple Harvest Festival chair Jim Champagne

By JOHN GORALSKI

EDITOR

The Apple Harvest Festival is almost here, and officials are working hard to prepare for opening day.

The 2016 event runs from Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2 and Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 9, and it will include everything that visitors have come to expect from a parade and road race on the first weekend to the arts and crafts festival in the second weekend. Along the way, visitors are treated to fireworks, a number of contests, and a carnival that spans both weekends.

Visitors will pour onto the town green for this year’s festival, and few will notice the behind-the-scenes work carried on by the Apple Harvest hostesses, volunteers, vendors, and committee members that goes into a another successful festival.

This week, we talk with Jim Champagne, the Apple Harvest Festival Coordinator. He has been involved with the festival for nine years.

Why do you continue to be involved with the Apple Harvest Festival?

It’s the best thing that I can do with my time. It’s an excellent event. It’s a family event. We have something for little children, middle school, high school, adults.

What are your duties and responsibilities?

I guess you’d say that I’m in charge of almost every function. If you did it alphabetically, it would be accounting, bed race, booths, to vendors.

What are the biggest changes this year for the festival?

We have some new vendors and some new people on committees…

We have a new app to track the parade. If you’re daughter’s in the first division, it will tell you where the first division is. It will tell you how soon she will get up-town…

We’ve got food. We’ve got Irish food. We’ve got Polish food, Greek food, Thai food, Mexican food. We’ve got crepes, chicken quesadillas, and all the staples like the fritters…

We reduced the size of some of the vendor tents, and we’ve added two 20’x40’ dining tents because we’re trying to get people off the sidewalks. We don’t want them sitting on the curbs, so we’ll try to offer the dining facilities…

What are you most excited about at this year’s festival?

The parade. It’s the highlight of the festival. It’s great to see the thousands that come out, and we work really hard to make sure that they have the best festival we can for them.

Is there any specific help that you still need, events you want to promote, or things you need to accomplish before Oct. 2?

We still need volunteers, specifically the parade volunteers. We’re looking for 30 adult volunteers for the parade.

How can people get involved?

You can simply go to www.southington.org/ahf and you can volunteer with us. If they’d like to email us, they can reach me at afestival@southington.org. Our phone number is (860) 276-8461.

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