Apple pie, music and more at this weekend’s apple harvest festival

WINCHESTER – The 42nd Shenandoah Valley Apple Festival hosted by the Rotary Club of Winchester takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.

“People from all walks of life come to Winchester because we’re known for our apples,” said Julia Connell, president of the Rotary Club of Winchester.

Festivalgoers can look forward to events that include artisans and crafters, an apple pie eating contest, live music, and an antique car & truck show. “It’s an event for the whole family – regardless of age,” Connell said.

An estimated 7,000 people are expected to attend this weekend’s festival.

“In 1975 the elders of the Winchester Rotary club wanted to create a new fundraising event,” explained McCrary.

The festival originally started as a heritage arts and craft festival, but has grown exponentially. “It’s a great opportunity for local artisans and crafters to showcase their work,” she said.

Patrons will be able to enjoy the works of over 150 artisans & crafters. Items for sale will include handmade jewelry, art and hand-spun wool. The Kids Zone will offer inflatables and face painting with John Handley’s High School Interact Club.

In keeping with the apple theme, festivalgoers are reminded to pick up their free apple at the Apple Theme Booth, where dozens of varieties of locally grown apples will be on display. The best apple pie will be judged around noon. The apple pie eating contest begins at 2 p.m. Sunday and is sponsored by White House/National Fruit Company.

Live music, spanning the 1970s to the early ’90s will be continuous and will include Grammy-nominated Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, Judy Chops, the Robbie Limon Band and Jimmy Lee. Adults can sample craft beers and hard ciders at the Tap & Cork area. And the dogs are welcome to participate in or watch the Blue Ridge Dog Training Agility Course.

“This is a major fundraising event for the community. It gives us the ability to donate to local charities that are in need,” Connell added.

During its lifespan, the Rotary Club has successfully raised over $1 million, with this event bringing in a third of the total annual revenue, said Darla McCrary,  festival co-chair. This year the event is expected to raise almost $50,000.

If You Go

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Frederick County Fairgrounds

 How much: Adults, $6. Military and those 65 and up, $5. Child 6 and under,  free.