Gala officially kicks off the 51st Apple Harvest Festival

On Thursday, Sept. 26, the 51st Apple Harvest Festival officially kicked off the start of its second half-century with the annual Apple Harvest Festival gala at the Aqua Turf. The gala culminates with the crowning of the Apple Harvest Queen, above. Reilly Bard, right, places the crown on the head of this year’s queen, Brianna Harris. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



The 51st annual Apple Harvest Festival officially kicked off last week when Brianna Harris was crowned the 2019 Apple Harvest Queen during the annual AHF Gala.

This was Harris’ second year taking part in the host and hostess program. In her opinion, the program is about serving others, and getting to meet new people, as well as connect with friends from past hostess program experiences.

“It was a shock, but I just knew that I put in a lot of hours helping the community,” said Harris of being crowned the 2019 Apple Harvest Queen. “I wasn’t really counting the hours, I was more worried about how much fun I was having with my friends more than anything.”

The Queen’s court: Apple Harvest Queen Brianna Harris, left, was crowned alongside first runner-up Morgan Duling, center, and second runner-up Kate Hardy, right. Other hostesses and hosts are Kallie Candelaria, Alex Carabetta, Madison Derynioski, Avery Korp, Trevor Messina, Isabela Miani, Autumn Swain, and Emily Swanson. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

Harris was crowned beside two of her friends, first runner up Morgan Duling, and second runner up Kate Hardy. Hostess coordinator Erin Bard spoke highly of the newly-crowned queen.

“She’s kind. She is absolutely pure hearted. She is selfless. She is wonderful, and any time we had an event she was there,” said Bard. “There was only two times when there was a family emergency that came up, but she was absolutely devastated that she couldn’t be there, and you know, I felt for her because she loved being with us. She was there in spirit those two events that she missed, but really she was there every step of the way.”

During both weekends of the festival, Harris can be found representing the host and hostess program. The group serves as ambassadors at the festivities, answering questions at the information booth, helping in the crowd, and performing ceremonies throughout the festival.

Bard explained that Harris will be out an about, answering questions, and explaining the history and purpose of the festival to those visiting from surrounding communities and states. But the first stop on Harris’ Apple Harvest experience? Biting into a fresh apple fritter.

Throughout the festival, Harris will be joined by the ten 2019 host and hostesses; Kallie Candelaria, Isabela Miani, Autumn Swain, Madison Derynioski, Alex Carabetta, Kate Hardy, Avery Korp, Emily Swanson, Morgan Duling, and Trevor Messina.

“We’re often asked what makes the festival the success that it is, and the answer, as always, is evident by all of you in the room this evening,” said Apple Harvest Festival Supervisory Committee chair Chris Palmieri. “What makes it successful? Our volunteers, our sponsors, our hostesses, family, and friends.”

The 51st annual Apple Harvest Festival will run from Friday, Oct. 4, to Sunday, Oct. 6, and from Friday, Oct. 11, to Sunday, Oct. 13. For more information, visit

Meet your Apple Harvest Festival hosts & hostesses

Let’s meet this year’s Apple Harvest Festival hosts and hostesses. They were asked:

  1. A) What do you like about the Apple Harvest Festival?
  2. B) What is your favorite memory of the Apple Harvest Festival?
  3. C) Why is being an Apple Harvest hostess an honor for you?
  4. D) What would you tell your friends who are interested in coming to the festival but have never been?
Brianna Harris,
2019 Apple Harvest Festival Queen

Brianna Harris, 17

2019 Apple Harvest Festival Queen

  1. A) I love how the Southington community and surrounding communities come together to celebrate a festival that provides great food, music, and entertainment for people of all ages.
  2. B) My favorite memory of the Apple Harvest would have to be watching the Apple Harvest parade every year with my friends and family.
  3. C) Being an Apple Harvest hostess is an honor for me because I love being a role model to the younger kids in the community and giving them a positive figure to look up to. As a kid I looked up to the previous hostesses, and now that I am a hostess, I get to pass on the tradition to those kids that looked up to me.
  4. D) I would tell my friends that were interested in going to the festival to listen to music, eat some food, and don’t forget to grab some apple fritters before you head out!
Morgan Duling,
First Runner Up

Morgan Duling, 17

First Runner Up

  1. A) I really enjoy the fireworks, and the parade. When I was a kid, I loved to go on the rides and work at Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Of course, eating the Apple Fritters.
  2. B) When I was younger, I loved watching the parade with my family. It was always a lot of fun and excitement. I also really love watching the fireworks.
  3. C) I’m proud to represent my hometown. I love participating in community service events around the town that help others.
  4. D) You have to come check out the parade, fireworks, rides, food, and definitely the Apple Fritters!
Kate Hardy,
Second Runner Up

Kate Hardy, 17

Second Runner Up

  1. A) I love how many different activities and options the Apple Harvest has to offer, whether it be foods, rides, games, events, or crafts. The festival truly has something to offer for everyone.
  2. B) My favorite memory of the Apple Harvest is walking around with all of my friends, and hitting up almost every food booth.
  3. C) In 5th grade I wrote a paper about how amazing my Grandma is, and as a result, my Grandma became the Granny Apple. That was a very special moment for me, so it means a lot to me to still be a part of the festival seven years later.
  4. D) The Apple Harvest Festival is so much fun! The food is absolutely delicious, the rides and games are super exciting, and there is so many other things to check out, including the crafts. Also, whenever you go to the Apple Harvest, you must check out the apple fritter booth. The fritters are my favorite!
Kallie Candelaria

Kallie Candelaria, 17

  1. A) What I like most about the Apple Harvest Festival is seeing how many people come out and support our local businesses, The AHF is a great time to come together as a community and celebrate the town of Southington.
  2. B) My favorite memory of the AHF is  going to the parade each year with my family and I look forward to seeing what performances are in the parade.
  3. C) Being an Apple Harvest Hostess is an honor to me because I have many family members who have been past hostesses so continuing that family tradition is a great feeling. Along with that, helping organize such an important event in the town of Southington and volunteering at all different places really gave me the perspective on just how wonderful our town really is.
  4. D) I would tell them to try the apple fritters!
Alex Carabetta

Alex Carabetta, 16

  1. A) I love how it brings the community together.
  2. B) I loved going on all of the rides with my friends, especially the scarier ones because we’re thrill-seekers.
  3. C) I have so many great memories from the festival, and I’d like to give everyone else the same opportunity. Also, all of the other hostesses are such awesome people, and it’s an honor to work with them.
  4. D) I would tell them to try out all the different food and get apple fritters on the weekday.
Madison Derynioski

Madison Derynioski, 17

  1. A) I’ve always loved watching the parade, eating fritters and just walking around the festival, seeing what sort of things people have to offer (crafts, jewelry, food, etc)
  2. B) Honestly, it’s hard to remember a certain memory that I deem as my favorite. But if I had to choose, it’d be one of the years of the parade or just walking around with my family.
  3. C) Because I’ve been a Southington resident all of my life, and love giving back to the community every opportunity I get. It’s also special because my mother had applied to be a hostess, but unfortunately wasn’t chosen.
  4. D) That it’s a lot of fun. The festival has so many fun events and activities that you can take part in. The rides and games are fun, walking around the different booths is fun and when it gets cooler or you’re just hungry, you can always stop at one of the food vendors.
Avery Korp

Avery Korp, 17

  1. A) I love how the community comes together to not only enjoy the festivities, but also volunteer their time and contribute to the festival itself. The people of Southington make the Apple Harvest great!
  2. B) I’ll always remember walking in the parade with my powder puff football team, it was so much fun and such a great group of girls.
  3. C) I believe that as a hostess, I’m representing Southington’s youth. I want to serve this role to the best of my ability and exemplify the importance of being involved in one’s community, as well as how great the kids of Southington are!
  4. D) I’d tell them that it’s a very special experience that really brings everyone together. Of course, I’d also make sure to tell them to try all of the delicious food there too!
Trevor Messina

Trevor Messina, 17

  1. A) I like the sense of strength in community you get from being there.
  2. B) Marching for the first time in the parade as a second grader in cub scouts, and then marching in the parade every year since, either with scouts, middle school band or high school marching band.
  3. C) I get to work with such amazing and hard working individuals, as well as volunteer to help better my community. Also, I get to be a voice for other males who might also want to be a part of this amazing experience.
  4. D) There’s truly something for everyone. From foods to fun activities, the Apple Harvest Festival creates a wholesome friendly environment made for everyone!
Isabela Miani

Isabela Miani, 17

  1. A) I love the great food and seeing the whole town come together and have fun at the Apple Harvest. The parade on Sunday is enjoyable to watch and seeing everyone’s hard work that they put into their float.
  2. B) My favorite memory of the Apple Harvest Festival is building the float for Saint Dominic School every year when I was in elementary school, and being able to ride on it.
  3. C) Being an Apple Harvest Hostess is an honor to me because it makes me a role model to young girls who are looking to be a hostess when they are older.
  4. D) I would tell my friends who have never been to the Apple Harvest to try the apple fritters because they are delicious!
Autumn Swain

Autumn Swain, 17

  1. A) I like how the Apple Harvest Festival brings the whole town together, no matter what demographic a person is.
  2. B) My favorite memory is watching the parade every year with my whole family.
  3. C) It is an honor to be a hostess because I get to see how the whole festival comes together after lots of planning.
  4. D) I would tell them that they will have a great time no matter what. With all of the different food, games, and activities, it’s hard not to have fun!
Emily Swanson

Emily Swanson, 17

  1. A) Overall, I like how the Apple Harvest Festival brings the community together, and I enjoy attending because the festival grows and gets better every year.
  2. B) My favorite memory would have to be working at Alex’s Lemonade Stand through middle school since it gave me the chance to spend time with my friends and peers, all while working for a good cause.
  3. C) I have lived in Southington all my life, and I am grateful for the opportunities as a hostess to give back to my community.
  4. D) I would emphasize how the festival is an unforgettable experience because there is something for everyone, such as the parade, a wide variety of food options, entertainers, arts and crafts, and more.