Granny Apple crowned at opening ceremonies

Riley Bard, center, reads the essay that led to this year’s Granny Apple selection. Grandmother Mary Sheehan smiled behind her during the ceremony to kick-off the 2017 Apple Harvest Festival. (Photo by John Goralski)



The Apple Harvest Festival officially kicked off Friday night, Sept. 29 on the Town Green. Co-Chair of the Supervisory Committee, Tom Lombardi, gave thanks to all who make the Festival possible, including fellow members of the Committee, official Festival Volunteers, hostesses, members of the Town Council, all vendors and sponsors, and the community of Southington as a whole.

From left, 2017 Granny Apple Mary Sheehan, Riley Bard, and 2017 Apple Harvest Festival Queen Molly Wright.

“Take a look at all the people around here who support this town, and I hope that we as residents can support our sponsors the same way they support us,” said Lombardi. “On behalf of the entire committee, we hope that you enjoy these next two weekends.”

Festival coordinator Jim Champagne took over the main stage for the Granny Apple Contest. Each year, third, fourth and fifth graders are asked to submit essays as to why their grandmother should be named the official “Granny Apple.”

“We get a ton of responses, and we sit and read them all, narrow it down to ten, and then select one final winner,” said Champagne. This year’s Granny Apple was named Mary Sheehan, by the help of her granddaughter Riley.

“She makes me laugh when she tells me silly stories. She enjoys giving back to her community, and encourages me to give back, too,” said Riley.

2017 Granny Apple Mary Sheehan and her granddaughter Riley enjoy the ride through the downtown during the Apple Harvest parade.

“She is a life-long resident who enjoys everything about the apple harvest festival. My grandma is everything a Granny Apple should be: a proud Southington resident, fun, supportive, loving, and a great baker.”

“It’s the first time I heard what she wrote and she did an excellent job,” said Sheehan after being named Granny Apple. “About 10 years ago my daughter was Apple Harvest queen, so it looks like Riley’s comin’ around.”

When asked what she looks forward to this year, Sheehan said, “I noticed there’s much more booths this year which is awesome. I always look forward to the food, and the contests, and of course you’ve got to have the apple fritters every year.”

Riley was looking forward to the carnival rides and being there with her family.

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