Adams County, Pa., is famous for its apples. With more than 20,000 acres of fruit orchards, Adams County is sometimes called "Apple Country, USA." It is home to the Apple Blossom Festival each spring and the National Apple Harvest Festival each fall, as well as the National Apple Museum.
The first apple festival in Adams County, Pa., was called the "1st Apple Harvest Holiday." It was held on Oct. 14, 1961, hosted by Donald Trostel and Clair Fetters. It was the culmination of the Apple Blossom Sundays that the local Adams County Fruit Growers Association had been hosting since the early 1950s.
In 1965, the Upper Adams Jaycees partnered with the Adams County Fruit Growers Association to hold the first official Apple Harvest Festival on Oct. 9. The festival was so successful that by 1975, the event was expanded to two weekends to accommodate the high numbers of attendees. The Adams County Fruit Growers Association also holds an Apple Blossom Festival in the spring. While both festivals enjoy the same festivities, they have different focuses. The spring festival pays homage to the white apple blossoms that appear on the apple trees in the spring, whereas the Apple Harvest Festival celebrates the harvesting of the apples in the fall.
Both the Apple Blossom and Apple Harvest festivals feature the judging of a festival queen and live entertainment, like clogging, pony shows and artisan demonstrations. There also is a variety of other contests, like an apple pie-eating contest and a pie-baking contest, and lots of food vendors. Wine, chocolate and cheese tastings are popular. You will find a variety of antiques for sale as well as hundreds of local artisans selling handmade wares, like chainsaw carvings and apple-based products, such as homemade apple jelly and cider. Both apple festivals offer orchard bus tours, pony rides and wagon rides as well as antique car shows.
The Adams County Apple Blossom Festival is held annually the first weekend in May. Its counterpart, the Apple Harvest Festival, is held the first two weekends in October. Both festivals are held in the South Mountain Fairgrounds at 615 Narrows Rd.. in Biglerville, Pa. The fairgrounds are located approximately 12 miles north of Gettysburg, leaving the festivals less than two hours away from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Harrisburg, Pa.
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