The Hickory Apple Festival in Hickory, Pennsylvania

by Krissi Maarx

The Hickory Apple Festival takes place in early October and lasts for two days. Being a family-friendly attraction, it offers activities and entertainment for all ages as well as a wide selection of foods and handcrafted items. The Mount Pleasant Township Volunteer Fire Company hosts this annual event at the fire hall grounds in Hickory, Pennsylvania, which is about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

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History

In 1983, a local firefighter came up with the idea for the Apple Festival as a means of fundraising when the fire company was in need of vehicles and equipment. Prior to this, the company gathered funds through horse shows, fairs and spaghetti dinners. The first festival, which brought in a few hundred dollars, included food, music and a single craftsman who made carvings of miniature work boots. The festival continued the following year and has since grown into a much larger annual event.

Activities

The festival features apple-related activities such as contests for eating apple pie and bobbing for apples. While shopping for handcrafted items such as rugs, quilts, baskets and pottery, visitors can watch demonstrations of the artisans making their items. Displays include antique machinery and vehicles. Other attractions include a petting zoo, puppet shows, hay rides, face painting, an arrowhead collection and a fire safety house in which people learn how to escape fires safely. The festival also features live music on two stages.

Foods

Each day of the festival begins with a large breakfast of coffee, cider, pancakes, sausage and eggs. Throughout the day, visitors can dine from a variety of freshly made foods, such as kielbasa, homemade soups and breads, roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs. Other goodies include a variety of apple treats, such as candied apples, caramel apples, apple dumplings and ice cream. Whole apple pies and apple butter are also available to purchase and take home.

General Information

Volunteers coordinate and staff the festival, which does not charge for general admission or parking. A free shuttle service is provided for off-site parking. Pets are not permitted. Some groups, such as the Boy Scouts and Civil War re-enactors, set up areas for overnight camping. Those interested in selling their homemade crafts at the festival can make prior arrangements with staff to set up a booth.

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