By Madison Fisler Lewis
Sept. 29, 2014. Ushering in the cooler days of fall is the 37th annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival, held in downtown North Wilkesboro on Saturday, Oct. 4. Started out as just an annual fundraiser decades ago, the festival has grown into an event that draws tens of thousands of excited attendees every year.
“I would expect that there will be about 150,000 people there throughout the day,” said Ann Garwood, Publicity Chair for the Apple Festival for more than 20 years.
The Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club operates and organizes the festival each year, and it has become one of the largest fundraisers for Wilkes County, with more than 100 civic, church and nonprofit organizations participating. The festival is free to attend, and all proceeds from the festival are donated back to the community.
The festival itself will feature more than 300 arts and craft vendors, 100 food vendors, four music stages, performances such as clogging, folk dance, rope skipping and much more.
Activities featured this year include carriage rides, train rides, apple butter demonstrations, soap making demonstrations, blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations, pottery, a petting zoo, pony rides, survivalist demonstrations, a moonshine still, a bounce house and much more.
And true to its namesake, the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival has plenty of apples!
Local apple growers will be available selling apples, apple cider and dried apples from Northwestern North Carolina.
“This is a free family event,” said Garwood. “We have lots of apple growers that will be situated on the outskirts of the festival grounds so you can get your apple wares as you leave the festival.”
The festival will start at 8 a.m. and will continue all day until it reaches its conclusion at 5 p.m. But if you’re itching to get started a little bit early, pre-festival activities like the “Apple Jam” will take place on Friday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m. and will feature live entertainment at the festival park located at the corner of 10th and Main streets.
And remember, don’t miss out on the Snapshot Contest run by the Ruritan Club. If you take a picture during the festival, send it to the club and you could win the first place prize of $100.
The event raises about $30,000 each year, half of which the Ruritan Club uses to fund scholarships that are awarded each year to students who are attending four-year colleges.
“After that, the rest goes to several different organizations that we support,” Garwood said. “We have a veteran’s program that we do, we have a community pool that we support, we fund Christmas and Fourth of July celebrations, we make Christmas baskets, anywhere in the community where we see a need, we try to help. All of the money that we make from this, we put right back into the community.”
The annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is sure to be full of family-friendly activities, food and handmade crafts for all ages and is a fantastic all-day family event. So be sure to wear your walking shoes and come out this Saturday for the festivities.
For more information about this event, click here.