Applefest Kicks Off Today in Franklin
Franklin, which is home to fewer than 7,000 residents, will see an influx of between 80,000 to 100,000 people over the weekend. Hotels and bed and breakfasts in the city and surrounding areas are booked a year in advance for the event, said Jodi-Baker Lewis, executive director of the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s homecoming. If you graduated from here, if you were raised here – this is your weekend,” said Baker, who added that people from as far as California flock to Franklin for Applefest.
What began as a pie-eating contest in 1982 has become a three-day festival equipped with an 11-person core committee that plans for each Applefest a year in advance.
Lewis said the Applefest Core Committee started planning for this year’s event last November. The group then met once a month from March through August and twice a month in September.
The committee decided to switch up this year’s Applefest to include live entertainment from “Taste of Talent” contestants and a DUI awareness event hosted by Brandon’s Dad organization. The U.S. Army National Asset will also set up a trailer for members of the public to try their hand at virtual reality shooting games.
The typical craft and food vendors will be joined this year by eight commercial vendors set up along 12th Street. These vendors will include Southern Airways Express, which runs Venango County Regional Airport.
Along with these vendors, Lewis said local retailers see a boom in business throughout the festival.
“We often hear it’s Christmas for local businesses,” Lewis commented. “They are so busy with the people who come to town. Local retailers and restaurants rely on Applefest.”
Lewis said she hopes for good weather and wants Franklin to flourish this weekend.
“The goal of the core committee is that those who come enjoy their time here, that our vendors are successful and that the downtown succeeds because of Applefest,” she said.
For more information, see the Applefest schedule of events.
(Photos courtesy of Greg Knox of Bright Ideas Learning Center and Photography)
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