By Bonnie & Bill Neely
Just after we moved to the Carolinas we discovered the fun family event which hundreds have enjoyed for over 70 years on Labor Day Weekend. This year it will be August 31-September 3rd. Many Apple farms, which are generations old and boast as many as many as 30 different varieties of apples, surround the town of Hendersonville, NC. Each year on the entire Labor Day weekend the little downtown is lined with all kinds of fresh, homemade apple products for sale during this fun family festival. This festival continues and commemorates the yesteryear fun when apples were harvested and the hard work was celebrated. The booths, as well as the orchards they represent, are run by the families who work all year to bring their delicious fare to this event for our enjoyment.
Children line up for all kinds of fun including balloons, magic shows, face painting, crafts, performances, and lots and lots of good, wholesome, tasty delights,. The whole family can enjoy bands with many different kinds of instruments and genres from country, bluegrass, gospel, rock, Polynesian, and more. The talented locals also perform hula dances as well as tap and square dancing shows.
The Labor Day festival opens the season for the sale of apples fresh from the trees in every imaginable form. Visitors can buy apple honey, apple slushes, fried pies, whole apple pies to take home, apple jellies and jams, candied apples, and apple candy, apple ice cream, cider, juices, and much more. We had no idea apples could be rendered in
Don’t miss perusing the unique local shops, which are also open for business behind the festival tents. We found several most interesting. The leather shop has many beautiful handmade leather items crafted by local artisans. We were also very happy to discover Kilwin’s Chocolate Shop and their delicious apples on a stick, made while we watched, and the BEST homemade-tasting ice cream ever. The shop also has restroom facilities for their patrons. If you prefer not to enjoy festival food standing up, you can also choose from many wonderful restaurants to dine in Hendersonville or nearby Brevard.
Parking was ample and most was free, with only a few blocks to walk. Leave your pets at home since this is a crowded festival. And this is only the beginning of the apple season. Throughout these lovely Blue Ridge Mountains you can purchase apples all during autumn from roadside stands and warehouses, or you can take the whole family to an orchard and pick many varieties yourself straight from the trees…a great education for kids and a fun family experience to enjoy and remember. Enjoy Apple Fest this year or plan for it in future years. It is a North Carolina Mountain tradition!