By JOHN GORALSKI
The Apple Harvest Festival is almost here, and officials are working hard to prepare for opening day.
The 2015 event runs from Friday, Oct. 2-Sunday, Oct. 4 and Friday, Oct. 9 to Sunday, Oct. 11, 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 a number of contests along the way 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.
That’s why we are so happy that committee members took time from their busy schedules to talk with The Observer about this year’s attractions and offer you a rare glimpse behind the curtain.
This week, we talk with Tracey Bentz, the Apple Harvest Festival Arts & Crafts/ Carnival Chair.
How did you get involved with the Apple Harvest Festival?
I’ve always loved the festival. Since joining the committee, I’ve met some amazing people that will always be in my life, and I am so grateful for those friendships.
When and why did you get involved as a committee member?
My dad took the job as Apple Harvest Festival Coordinator eight years ago, so naturally I wanted to be involved. My family has a tendency to get involved with special events in the community.
What are the duties and responsibilities of your committee? What part of the Apple Harvest Festival are you entrusted to handle?
My job is to help the vendors, setting them up and making sure that the Arts & Crafts Fair is in order over the two-day weekend of the fair. At the Carnival, I am involved with auditing the ticket sales, coordination of volunteers, and that includes training and organization of the volunteers in the ticket booth.
In addition to the Arts & Crafts and Carnival, I am in charge of obtaining proper inventory of the Apple Harvest memorabilia apparel that is sold during the festival in the tent across from the stage. I am at the Festival from beginning to end in making sure whatever needs to be done, gets done.
I truly enjoy being at the festival and being a part of this incredible committee and appreciate all my friends that help out. You know who you are.
What are the biggest changes this year from your committee?
We are always learning new ways to make the fair as successful as possible, keeping in mind all the visitors and vendors.
What are you most excited about at this year’s festival?
All the new and exciting vendors that will be in the Arts & Crafts Fair this year. Each year we grow with new vendors and new products. The official Apple Harvest Arts & Crafts are located behind the stage in the parking lot. Come visit them the second weekend of the fair (Oct. 9-11).
How can people get involved?
People can sign up to be a volunteer in either beverage, beverage runner, t-shirt booth, inflatable’s, carnival, finance, parade chaperones or information booth.
To sign up visit Southington.org. If you are a baker don’t forget to register for the Apple Pie Baking contest to be held on the first Saturday (Oct. 3rd) at 10 a.m. You will find the registration form on-line at southington.org.
First prize is $100. Second place is $75, and third place is $50.
How can people contact you?
You can contact me at email@example.com or call me at (860) 628-7477.
We still need volunteers. You can still sign up at www.Southington.org and click on the Apple Harvest icon, go to the green box “Click to view Volunteer Opportunities.” Pick your day and time slot for Beverage, Finance, Carnival, T-shirt Booth, Inflatables, Information, and Parade Route Chaperones. For more information, contact Michelle White at (203) 232-5650.
How has it helped you to get involved?
I feel that we live in a unique town. I was born and raised here, and I love how the community comes together for exciting times like our Apple Harvest Festival. The people in this town are here for each other in good times and in bad. We have a sense that we feel we know each other, and we would support a fellow “neighbor” in anything that they may need.