By SHERIDAN CYR
The Apple Harvest Festival supervisory committee noted on several occasions that this year, they hoped to capture the essence of the festival’s 50-year history. They did just that when they selected this year’s Granny Apple contest winner as Susan Buckler, daughter of George Kroher who was the Southington Chamber of Commerce president during the very first Apple Harvest Festival.
Buckler earned her Granny Apple sash with the help of her granddaughter, Kylie Savage, who wrote the winning essay.
“Fifty years ago, my great grandfather, George Kroher, was president of the Chamber congress,” wrote Savage. “He invented the Apple Harvest and was Santa in the parade. His daughter, Susan Buckler, is my grandma, so I think it would be cool if my grandma was in the parade like my great grandfather.”
Savage, a fifth grader from Plantsville Elementary School, also wrote that she loves her grandmother’s cooking. “She makes the best home-made bread, and makes healthy food taste good,” she wrote. “She always finds a good recipe to cook.”
She also shared some activities she enjoys with her grandmother, like shopping, where Buckler buys her granddaughter’s favorite foods and surprises her with it.
“And that is why she is the best,” said Savage.
Buckler said she was honored to be at the festival because of her dad, and said she is proud of her granddaughter.
“We came home last Tuesday, and I said, ‘Kylie, I’m sorry. We didn’t win the contest,’ because it had been a week since we submitted the essay,” Buckler said. “Next thing I know, there’s all this commotion downstairs, and my daughter had gotten the call. We were all screaming. We were so excited.”
The Granny Apple said she hopes to keep the festival’s traditions going.
“I remember how hard [my father] worked on this, and I’m just so honored to be here and so proud of how the festival has continued to grow all these years,” said Buckler.
Savage’s mother, Amanda Savage, stood proudly in the crowd as she watched her family being recognized on the main stage.
“It was really exciting seeing Kylie up there reading her essay,” she said. “She did a really good job, and spoke very eloquently even though she was nervous.”
The Granny Apple and her grandchild are honored each year at opening ceremonies, and then shown off in the Apple Harvest parade on Sunday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.