Crowds descend on Apple FestivalPublished 10:09am Monday, October 5, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
A cloudy sky and chilly temperatures couldn’t deter the crowds that were determined to make their way to the 37th annual Four Flags Area Apple Festival this weekend.
And even with a live performance by the musical group Blackhawk Friday night and the grand parade, on the festival grounds one of the most popular spots around continues to be the Apple Products tent.
This year members of the Niles Service League were busy serving up everything from apple danishes and donuts, apples drenched in caramel and apple cookies to apple pies and apple cider.
“This is our first year” working the tent, said the organization’s president, Trisha Schoenleber.
The service league has been a part of the youth days for the apple festival each year.
Schoenleber said this year the league is focusing on getting more involved in the community and that meant manning the counters at the apple products tent, stocked with freshly baked goods provided by the Country Bake Shop.
And for anyone looking for fresh apples – the tent was stocked with bags of all varieties including Jonathon, Macintosh, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious.
For their work, Schoenleber said the service league would get a percentage of the profits from sales at the tent and that money would “go towards all of our scholarships, camperships and our school liaison program.”
Schoenleber said from behind the counter, the view was that this year’s Apple Festival was as busy as ever. Saturday, she said, “It was slammed until 10 o’clock at night.”
The best seller? Apple Worm cookies.
The turnout overall, Schoenleber said, was “very good, I think.”
The festival is a fall tradition for many, be it taking part in an apple pie eating contests, making sure to get in a ride on the Ferris wheel, grabbing something to eat at any of the many concession stands or finding unique gifts and art at any of the commercial tents.
“I think that it actually brings a lot of attention to Niles,” Schoenleber said of the festival. “Because we are a small town… It gives (people) a great sense of community.”
In a show of that kind of community, members of the Niles High School varsity cheerleading squad and members of the NHS Student Council lent some of their time to helping out members of the service league, slipping those apple sweet treats into bags for eager customers.
And there was a chance for all who took time to come out to the Apple Festival to get a taste of the celebrated fruit for free.
The Holloway Farm in Buchanan furnished a few fine varieties of apples that were bing polished and set out by volunteers like Carmella Medlin and handed out to visitors for free.
On that side of the festival grounds, however, Medlin said she’d noticed a decrease in those coming out to the annual festival. She speculated the weather and the economy might have deterred some from making the trip out.
Still, all said and done – it was hard to find someone not willing to bit into something sweet, something festive, something apple-ish.