If you’re a Jerry Lee Lewis fan, you’ve probably quoted this line before: “There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!” And that would be true of the 70th Annual North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville on Labor Day weekend. What’s shakin’? Why apple trees, of course. And you could get those red or green or yellow juicy delights at any of the 25 fantastic farm markets open during the festival. You could also see a play at Flat Rock Playhouse, dine on pancakes at the Kiwanis or Lions Club or Elks Breakfast, or wave at the bands in the King Apple Parade. But for us, Main Street was the Main Thing.
It’s here that we found tent after tent with vendors selling everything from gutter guards to handmade soaps.
But they also sold what we came for: apples. Didn’t matter if you like Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Rome, Golden Delicious, or Pink Lady. They had ’em all. So juicy and already lined up in bags or baskets to take to your car.
Plus, there was more to see and do than just crunch into apples. The 35th Annual Henderson County Gem & Mineral Spectacular was going on, and the Mineral & Lapidary Museum trotted out their best geodes for all to see (and buy).
Or you could listen to music by the headline players every day of this four-day event on the big stage in the middle of Main.
Whole families gathered round the painted bears on Main Street — taking souvenir pictures of their trip to the Apple Festival.
And young and old tried their hand at winning a yellow rubber ducky by pounding the scale at the Hendersonville Police Department tent.
Two guys (well, they could have been girls) in blow-up costumes wobbled around, posed for pictures, and drew crowds at the Hendersonville Fire Department booth.
We, of course, love food as well as the people serving it or eating it. So we became people watchers. Now here’s a guy loving the festival and this roasted turkey leg. (When asked how many years he had attended the festival, he answered, “This is my first time.” And when asked where he lived, he said, “Right here in Hendersonville.”) There’s a first time for everything.
And this lady was enjoying walking down Main Street eating a whole ear o’ corn with the husks wrapped up in a napkin.
But we couldn’t just stand around and watch people eat, now could we? So we started with a baked apple turnover. (Saving those calories by not eating fried! Right?)
Our favorite booth touted its origins in Paris, France, of all places. It was mainly the draw of this French Apple Tarte that got my attention. (And money.)
Bert, on the other hand, gravitated toward this yummy, filling Apple Bread Pudding and washed it down with a Spicy Apple Slushy.
There was no room for cider doughnuts after all that, no matter how nice this young lady was to us while filling an order for someone a little less full.
Not all people on Main Street stayed alert and enthralled with the apple action, though. Perhaps even princesses need a nap every now and then.
So put Labor Day on your calendar for next year. The 71st Annual North Carolina Apple Festival will be in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 2017, giving you enough time to lose a little before you visit the food booths on Main Street!
For more information:
North Carolina Apple Festival, Hendersonville, NC: Labor Day weekend. http://www.ncapplefestival.org/
Note to visitors: Main Street not only has vendors set up in tents for the Apple Festival. Retail stores along the street are also open, some with festival specials. Numerous benches provide rest stops. Parking is available on side streets near Main Street manned by volunteers in vacant lots. (Approximately $5.00 per day.)
Other events: (Open orchards, pancake breakfasts, parade, exhibits, etc.) See listing on NC Apple Festival website.