The 42nd annual Applefest began modestly in 1977 as a community celebration to honor the autumn apple harvest. That year a few dozen tables and booths lined Main Street and the event only lasted a few hours. Now, the giant event spans four days and features over 250 vendors as well as a host of non-profit organizations, continuous music, several competitive events and offers enough food choices to satisfy the hungriest visitor.
There are no crowd estimates from 1977, but this year organizers anticipate as many as 20,000 visitors. That’ll be quite a crowd, but never fear, the DCI’s 2019 Official Applefest Guide — which is included in today’s newspaper — will help you navigate and enjoy every moment of the festival. Meanwhile, to get you in an Applefest mood, here’s a chronological summary of this year’s sprawling celebration.
• Thursday evening, Oct. 3, marks the 18th annual Five Alarm Chili Cook-Off with chili served at the Cedaredge fire house in exchange for a donation from 5-8 p.m.
• On Friday, Oct. 4, the Cedaredge Rebekah Lodge No. 106 will open its Country Store featuring a fabulous array of one-of-a-kind bargains at the corner of Northwest Third Street and West Main Street. Friday hours are 8 a.m-5 p.m.
• With festival vendors not due to officially open until Saturday morning, much of Friday will be devoted to set up and vendor check-in. Visitors who arrive on Friday are invited to shop the Country Store, sightsee on Grand Mesa, and visit local businesses and restaurants.
• On Saturday, Oct. 5, Applefest begins early with the Cedaredge Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast served from 7:30-10:30 a.m. on the south side of the Masonic Hall building, 295 W. Main St. And don’t forget that the nearby Rebekah Lodge’s Country Store will be open on Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
• At 9 a.m. on Saturday Applefest vendors open for business. There will be much to see and do, but remember that it’s all about the apples so be sure to support local apple growers who will be displaying their delicious harvest on Apple Lane in town park. Apple vendors and all other booths, food outlets and vendors will remain open until 5 p.m.
• Saturday only events include the Applefest 5k walk/run which begins at 8 a.m. at the northwest corner of town park. Vintage motorcycles will be on display along Southwest Second Street and visitors can view a classic car show on the grounds of Pioneer Town from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. In conjunction with the car show, the Cedar Mesa Community Club will be serving good food at Pioneer Town from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center, 195 W. Main St., will host a Hall of Helping Hands event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For a $10 donation kids can create a hand tile which will be permanently displayed in the center.
• Other Saturday only events are The Pondy Tavern’s fifth annual Outhouse Stuffing Contest scheduled for 2 p.m. at 220 W. Main St. and the second annual Stein Holding Contest which commences at 3 p.m. is in the town park beer garden. Rounding out Saturday evening, The Pondy will present live music featuring Neon Sky from 8 p.m.-midnight.
• On both Oct. 5 and 6, the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center will host an Apple Cocktails event in the Art Gallery from 2-4 p.m. And the town park Centennial Bandstand will feature continuous music with talented entertainers performing from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Plus the Cedaredge Public Library will host its gigantic fund-raising book sale in the Lions Pavilion from 9 a.m-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m-4 p.m. on Sunday.
• On both Oct. 5 and 6, the Cedaredge Rotary Club will sell apple pie beginning at 9 a.m. Pie sales will end at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Also on both days, the Surface Creek Valley Lions Club will host a cook-out from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Both service clubs will be set up near the Lions Pavilion in the southeast corner of town park.
• Sunday, Oct. 6 — the final day of Applefest — begins once more at 7:30 a.m. with the FFA Alumni serving pancake breakfast until 10:30 a.m. Non-denominational church services are scheduled at the bandstand in town park from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Then vendors open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Throughout the day Rotarians and Lions Club will continue to offer apple pie and luncheon treats at the times shown above. And bandstand music will continue from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Sunday only activities include the return of the popular Apple Pie Eating Contest slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce booth in town park. And throughout the day the Glenfinnan Highlanders, featuring bagpipes and drums, will perform along Southwest Second St.