Niles’ largest festival just around corner

Published 2:32 pm Saturday, August 30, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The 31st annual Four Flags Area Apple Festival is only weeks away and event organizers are putting the final touches on what is the largest festival of the year here.
This year's Apple Festival kicks off on Thursday Sept. 25, and goes through Sept 28.
Rita Hubbard is on the Apple Festival committee and is responsible for public relations.
She said the 19-member committee, which starts working on the festival in January of each year, is especially excited about this year's festival entertainment.
Hubbard said Thursday and Friday evenings of the festival will feature artists such as Michael Harding, who plays contemporary/traditional country music, and bands Fourth Avenue and New Odyssey.
On Saturday evening, the "Paintin The Town Tour" will feature nationally renowned artists John Berry, Lee Roy Parnell and David Lee Murphy.
All bands that play at the festival are booked through an agent, Hubbard said.
In addition to music, the Sunday will feature a Lip Sync contest.
She said pre-registration will take place at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13.
Event organizers will ensure the Lip Sync contest remains a family friendly event, Hubbard said.
What takes up most time for the Apple Festival organizers now, Hubbard said, is wrapping up things and making things finalized to the finest detail.
That includes sending out brochures to sponsors and others who take an interest in the event which last year attracted an estimated 80,000 people.
Apart from the entertainment, Hubbard said, the parade on Saturday will be among the highlights of the festival.
The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. and goes from Second and Main streets in downtown Niles before disassembling at Niles High School.
Many events, however are "come-back" events.
Hubbard said there will be tons of apple contests which will mostly take place on Saturday and Sunday.
A first for the Apple Festival, however, is a Cheer Classic, in which area school cheer-leading groups will compete, Hubbard said.
And, the fourth annual custom car show will take place at the National Standard parking lot.
The Skerbeck Bros. Shows Inc. are also this year responsible for the carnival and fun-rides, she said.
Hubbard said Saturday is typically the busiest day of the festival, especially after the parade is over.
But if it hadn't been for the sponsors and volunteers, the Apple Festival would not be what it has come to be.
On Thursday, there will also be a prince and princess selection for children from five to eight years of age.
The winners will be drawn so that everyone will have fair chance of winning, Hubbard said.
She said the children who wish to enter this event must also pre-register by Sept. 13.
Arts and crafts vendors will be present on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hubbard said 200 booths will help fill the festival grounds.She also wants to thank Chemical Shoreline Bank for their support of the festival. For more information about the upcoming Apple Festival, call 683-8870.