2019 Applefest Deemed a Success

| October 9, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – With nearly ideal weather and large crowds for the this year’s Applefest event, the organizers have declared it an official success.

(Photos courtesy of Applefest)

The 37th Annual Applefest kicked off on Friday, October 4, in downtown Franklin.

“It was a beautiful weekend, and Saturday was just above and beyond perfect,” Jodi Lewis, Franklin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, told exploreVenango.com.

“I think it was fabulous. We probably had over to 100,000 people here this year.”

Lewis noted that some of the new events were particularly popular.

“X POGO drew a huge crowd and we had had over 400 people Saturday do the ax throwing.”

More than 300 craft and food vendors, as well as live entertainment, highlighted the weekend.

“People all seemed to have a really good weekend, and we had vendors, even seasoned Applefest vendors, reporting record sales,” Lewis said.

“Even the little bit of rain on Sunday didn’t keep people from showing up.”

According to Lewis, overall, this year’s event went particularly well, from start to finish.

“This year was, I want to say, the smoothest and easiest year ever, and that is due to the cooperation of everyone from people that visit to the retailers and vendors and safety guys, and our volunteers. It just ran really smoothly this year, and the core committee and I are so appreciative of that.”

The weekend event began as a pie-eating contest in 1982 and has grown to one of rural Pennsylvania’s biggest events. However, its true roots were found in the fabled folk hero John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, who lived in the Franklin area from 1797 to 1804. Chapman planted apple trees throughout the area and across the Midwest.

According to its website, franklinapplefest.com, more than 30 years ago, a newcomer to the Franklin area, Mrs. Lee Chapman, no relation to John Chapman, was impressed with the abundance of red apples that grew in the Franklin area and visited the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce office expressing “enchantment” with the area.

Coming from an arid region of South Africa, Chapman was especially impressed and thought the apples should be celebrated and would make a fabulous basis for an event that could help improve the spirits and instill some old-fashioned community pride in the residents who had been hard hit by an economic downturn.

Combining Mrs. Chapman’s suggestion with the area’s historical link to the fabled folk hero Johnny Appleseed, the idea for Applefest was born, and the town of Franklin has embraced the celebration ever since.

Lewis noted that now that this year’s Applefest has wrapped up, it is time to start the planning again for next year.

“Give us a couple of days and we’ll be ready to talk about Applefest 38!”

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