By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
As the leaves begin to change color, Southington community members begin to stir with the promise of their favorite fall activity—the 51st annual Apple Harvest Festival. This year, the festival will embody the parade’s theme, “Bushels of Family Fun,” with some new attractions, and some long-awaited traditions.
Festival opening ceremonies will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 4, and then the community celebration will swing into action.
Festival coordinator David Lapreay said there would be several returning experiences for the 51st year, as well as one new attraction aimed at younger attendees—an interactive butterfly experience.
The Butterfly Experience, held on the town green, will be a free activity, held on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6. Inside the 35-foot tent, young lepidopterists will get to learn about butterflies, all while enjoying their serene beauty.
The carnival will be open for both AHF weekends, for all hours of the festival. The carnival will also feature the “Family Nights” experience. With the purchase of a $25 wristband (one per person), attendees can enjoy unlimited rides, all night long, on Friday Oct. 4, and Friday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m.
The first performance of the 2019 festival, by Studio Two, will begin at 6:15 p.m., leading into the laser light show, sponsored by Bristol Health, which will begin at 8:15 p.m., and can be viewed from Main Street.
The fireworks presentation, sponsored by Eden & Main, will begin at 9 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 5, with Saturday, Oct. 12, scheduled as the rain date. The fireworks will be viewable from all festival grounds areas.
The fireworks display will be set off from the dog park, located on Mill Street. The section of Mill Street between N. Main Street (Rte. 10) and Water Street will be blocked off starting at 2 p.m., reopening at 11 p.m. The dog park will be closed to the public at noon on Saturday, Oct. 5. The park will reopen at noon on Sunday, Oct. 6. During this time, the rails to trails will also be closed between High Street (YMCA) and the Weichsel Municipal Center.
Begin the first Sunday of the 51st AHF with the annual road race, sponsored by the Southington Community YMCA. At 8:30 a.m., running enthusiasts will be able to take part in a 5-mile race, a 5-kilometer race, a 2-mile walk, and the Little Fritters Fun Runs. Registration for the road race will begin at 7a.m.
The Saturday, Oct. 5, entertainment lineup begins at 11 a.m., with a performance by Center Stage. At the same time will be the first of several apple-centric contests, the judging of the Apple Pie Baking Contest.
At 12 p.m., the Apple Fritter Eating Contest, will begin. The fritter contest will be sponsored by Raya Clinic. The following Saturday, Oct. 6, will be the annual Apple Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by V. Nanfito Roofing and Siding, and will begin at noon.
The annual Apple Harvest Parade, following the “Bushels of Family Fun,” theme, will begin at 2 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 6, with the following Sunday set as the rain date. This year, the parade will be sponsored by AMR, and will be led by Grand Marshall John Myers.
Beginning at 7:45 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 12, rock fans will be treated to a free performance by The Spin Doctors, best known for their late 90’s hits, “Two Princes,” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”
The festival will be open from 5 to 9 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 4; from 11 a.m., to 9 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 5; from 12 to 7 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 6; from 5 to 9 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 11; from 11 a.m., to 9 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 12, and from 12 to 5 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 13.
Attending the annual Apple Harvest Festival and parking are free, and there will be a shuttle bus available. Handicapped parking will be available in the Town Hall visitor’s lot, accessible on Berlin Avenue.
Shuttle buses back and forth from the festival will be available from Southington High School, 720 Pleasant St. Shuttles will run on Saturdays and Sundays with no service on Friday nights.
Shuttle dates and times are as follows—Saturday, Oct. 5, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 6, 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For current information regarding the 2019 Apple Harvest Festival, including hours, parking restrictions and detour information call the SPD Apple Harvest Information Line, (860) 378-1677.
The Information Line will be active starting on Monday, Sept. 23.