NEW HARMONY — With hundreds of apples freshly harvested, New Harmony’s annual Apple Festival, a fundraiser for the Harmony Valley Volunteer Fire Association, took place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the New Harmony City Park.
The festival began 10 years ago when the fire department recognized apple vendors, who had already been selling apples in town for years, and thought the idea of a festival would both help the apple vendors attract crowds that would buy apples and help raise money for the department, New Harmony Volunteer Fire Captain Matt Goodman said.
Because the Harmony Valley Fire Association is not a paid entity, the apple festival provides a way for the department to get the support and money needed to buy T-shirts, equipment and all other necessary items to operate as a fire department, Goodman said.
The apple festival’s crowd attendance, vendors, bake sale, and apples all increased in numbers this year, he said.
The event included a bounce house, rock climbing wall, carnival games, and a kid train for the children. As a part of fire prevention safety week, the Utah State Fire Marshal’s safety trailer was available for kids to tour and learn about fire safety. Tours of the ambulance and fire truck were also available.
A raffle that had prizes ranging from $25 to $1,000 in value, including the grand prize of 1,000 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo, were given out during the day, he said.
A pie eating contest and live music were among the activies and entertaiment at the festival. Apples, caramel apples and cider were among the items sold by food vendors as well as a bake sale.
Food prepared by members of the fire department in the firehouse was available for purchase all day while vendors in the park consisted of local businesses wanting to sell their products – such as garden art business owner, Kathy Vause.
Vause, who has been in the business of making and selling ceramic pieces for outside decoration, was referred to the apple festival by someone she saw at the Cedar City Arts Festival in June.
“This festival is awesome,” she said. “I am amazed, coming out here I thought ‘this is a long way out here, no one will show up.’ It’s crazy. It’s wonderful because it’s just great to see community support and I like the diversity of the booths available here.”
Pace Family Orchards was one of the apple vendors represented, a family business now in its fourth generation, James Pace said. James Pace’s grandfather started the orchard and then his father and his uncles passed it on to him, James Pace said. Dave Pace, James Pace’s 26-year-old son is the fourth generation, his 3-month-old grandson, Jackson Pace, will represent the fifth generation when he’s older.
Some apple varieties the Pace family sold were red delicious, golden delicious, Jonathans, and ida reds. However, the customer favorite was the freshly pressed apple cider, which sold out within hours of the festival.
“We have 250 trees in main orchard,” James Pace said. “Since we have been here for years and years, we still get customers who would come with their parents.”
Making people happy by selling the apples to them is what James Pace said he enjoys most about the festival.
Jackie Brill, whose husband works with the fire department, said she loves the camaraderie of community at the event, vendors and fire department members.
“This festival keeps going no matter rain, snow or sunshine,” she said.
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