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Take a bite out of the Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival

Mary Pickels

From cider to dumplings to bags full of fruit for crunching and baking, the Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival signals the return of autumn flavors.

This year marks the festival’s 37th anniversary, and the 112th anniversary of its apple press, says Brandy Walters, festival communications and marketing director.

Opening ceremonies are planned at 9:45 a.m. on Oct. 5. The festival opens 10:45 a.m. Oct. 6, followed at 11 a.m. with a non-denominational church service with Cheryl Thomas of Love Abounds Outreach.

Members of the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association discovered and operate the press, providing festival visitors an education in how the fruit becomes cider.

“Cider is always our big seller. You can purchase it hot by the cup or in gallon, half gallon or pint. It freezes well if somebody wants to freeze some for the holidays. It’s not pasteurized, so it’s good for one week in the fridge,” Walters says. “Apples are still a big seller. There are all different varieties, sold by the quarter peck, half peck and bushel.”

“As long as the weather holds, it looks good for the tractor pulls,” Walters says.

The Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association plans an antique tractor pull demonstration at 2 p.m. Saturday and a garden tractor pull at 11 a.m. on Sunday. A daily tractor parade is planned at 1 p.m.

Entertaining the younger set

Back this year is the apple sling shot. Youngsters get three tries slinging apples for $1, located behind the food vendors.

“They can see how far they can launch (apples) across the field,” Walters says. Children also can enjoy train rides by Triple “A” Express, Jan’s Barnyard Petting Zoo, a straw bale maze, gem mining and a ceramic pumpkin painting craft.

The popular Wild World of Animals will make appearances at 2 p.m. each day.

Tuika’s Polynesian Island Magic will entertain the crowd from 10 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, following opening ceremonies.

Festival sounds and shows

The festival stage will host several musical performances.

Renegade Ridge will perform at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, Apostles Creed takes the stage at noon, followed by the Hillbilly Gypsies at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and the Pittsburgh Banjo Club at 4 p.m.

Culinary skills and cuties

The festival offers two especially “ap-peeling” contests.

If you’re a whiz at turning apples into irresistible baked goods, you will want to drop off an entry for the Apple Bake judges on Oct. 6. There are two age divisions, 9-17 and 18 and up.

Categories include:

• apple pies, 1 or 2 crusts, crostadas, tarts

• breads, quick breads, muffins, scones

• cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes

• desserts — dumplings, crisps, cobblers

• cookies

• specialty items — candied or caramel apples, chutney/salsa, jelly/jam, apple butter

“They compete for bragging rights and some prizes. We get a lot of the same bakers each year,” Walters says.

And if you think your baby takes the cake, is the jam, or is sweeter than pie, enter your 3-month-old to 4-year-old in the Baby Apple Cheeks contest on Saturday.

Pre-registration is requested; those registering on contest day are asked to bring exact funds ($10, with a $5 fee for each additional sibling.) Contest is scheduled for noon on Saturday. The contest typically attracts about 75 kids, Walters says.

Sprinkled among the many repeat vendors, offering everything from home decor to toys, many with an autumn theme, are a few new ones. “We have a wine vendor, a distillery vendor,” Walters says.

The festival’s proceeds have reached as much as $15,000, Walters says, depending on expenses, sponsorships, weather and attendance.

That money helps support community nonprofits including the Westmoreland County Food Bank, Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Delmont Public Library and area churches, along with other groups that support the festival.

Many community organizations, including the Delmont Lions Club, also operate vendor booths, giving the groups an opportunity to fund raise.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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Tribune-Review file
Josh Anderson of Murrysville, and members of the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association use a 1907 apple press to make fresh cider, as they prepare for the 2018 Apple’n Arts Festival at Shields Farm in Delmont.
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Tribune-Review file
Ray Shick (left) of Mt. Pleasant, and John Chanoski of Harrison City, empty pressed apples into a spreader, as members of the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association use a 1907 apple press to make fresh cider, as they prepare for the 2018 Apple’n Arts Festival.
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Courtesy of Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival
Children gravitate to the Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival’s petting zoo.
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Courtesy of Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival
Musical entertainment is a big part of the visitors’ experience at the annual Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival.
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Courtesy of Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival
A baking contest featuring mouth-watering desserts starring, of course, apples, is always a popular event at the Delmont Apple ‘n Arts Festival.
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