By Hailey Blevins
It’s that time of year again. The weather is starting to slowly turn crisp and the leaves are turning shades of red, yellow and orange. For natives of Wilkes County, this means something even more exciting than that fall is upon us. With those changes also comes the time for apple picking, which means it’s time once again for the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, which occurs the first Saturday of October each year.
On Saturday, the streets around Main Street, North Wilkesboro are sure to be flooded with people, cars, and the sounds of a good time, not to mention the wonderful smells from the food vendors. This one day festival features live music, dancers, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and all the apples you could ask for! You’ll know you’re getting close to the Apple Festival when you see crowds of people flocking down the sidewalks together towards the Apple Festival.
Your next sign that you’re getting close will be the sounds of vendors selling, people chatting, animals (if you’re near the petting zoo) and, of course, the music. Bluegrass, country, folk, gospel and Appalachian heritage music is available for your listening pleasure, all of which is free. Four different stages are stationed throughout the festival, so be sure to find them all!
Of course, you don’t have to wait until Saturday to hear the awesome bands. Friday evening, the Apple Festival kicks off with its pre-festival “Apple Jam.” The music starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m., so bring out a lawn chair and a friend and join the other music lovers for some awesome music. A few food vendors will be set up as well.
The Apple Festival is named after the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club, who own, operate and organize the festival each year. The festival is the Ruritan Club’s largest fundraiser. It has also become one of Wilkes County’s biggest fundraisers as well. On the festival’s website, they note “Over 100 civic, church and other non-profit organizations participate in the festival.” The free festival brings over 160,000 people to Main Street, North Wilkesboro.
The streets will be filled once again with not just crowds of people, but also with over 400 arts and crafts vendors and 100 food vendors. Some of the most popular crafts that are exhibited at the Apple Festival are woodcrafting, chair making, soap making, pottery throwing and quilting. Check out the awesome maps the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club created for the location of different vendors and activities both above and below!
As long as you buy a bag of apples from one of the local apple growers before you leave or sample one of the apple inspired dishes from the vendors you can’t go wrong! After all, this is the Apple Festival.
You might want to bring an umbrella or rain jacket as well since the festival will happen rain or shine. For more information on the Apple Festival, parking information and directions, visit the festival’s website.
To gather photos from the Apple Festival each year, the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club holds a snapshot contest. The contest awards six prizes, including a first place prize of $100. Entries are due by November 15. Contestants can enter a maximum of 15 photos with the name, address and phone number of the contestant on the back of each photo. Entering the contest means your photo(s) may be used for publicity and advertising for future apple festivals if chosen. Samantha Allen’s crowd shot was last year’s first place winner.
Music and Entertainment Stages:
Bluegrass in the Park:
Located at the corner of 10th Street and Main Street
10 a.m. Sons of the South
11 a.m. The Elkville Stringband
12 p.m. Caldwell Line
1 p.m. Sons of the South
2 p.m. The Elkville Stringband
3 p.m. Caldwell Line
Located at the Wells-Fargo parking lot on 9th Street
10 a.m. Brian Birchfield
11 a.m. Bobby Billings
12 p.m. The New River Drifters
1 p.m. The Local Boys
2 p.m. The Hall Sisters
3 p.m. Brian Birchfield
Gospel at the J.P.:
Located at the Journal Patriot parking lot
10 a.m. The Shireys
10:40 a.m. Jordan’s Bridge
11:20 a.m. Redeemed Trio
12 p.m. The Bledsoes
12:40 p.m. The Shireys
1:20 p.m. Jordan’s Bridge
2 p.m. Redeemed Trio
2:40 p.m. The Bledsoes
Yadkin Valley Marketplace:
Located at the parking lot where the parking deck used to be
9 a.m. Stepping Out Studio
9:30 a.m. Carolina Cloging Connection
10 a.m. Tanya’s Academy of Dance
10:30 a.m. Carolina Clogging Connection
11 a.m. Wilkes County Line Dancers
11:30 a.m. The Foothill Cloggers
12 p.m. Studio 68
12:30 p.m. Appalachian Rhythm
1 p.m. The Foothill Cloggers
1:30 p.m. Extreme Spirit Allstarts
2 p.m. Yadkin Valley Dancers