By Yaneek Smith, Beacon Contributor
The Apple Festival, Oak Harbor’s annual autumn weekend celebration, is fast approaching and will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 9-10. It’s estimated 20,000 to 25,000 visit the village for the festival each year.
Valerie Winterfield, the executive director for the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, talked about the popularity of the two-day event.
“I think probably because of the history. It’s been around for 42 years, it’s well-established, and there are a lot of people who come home just for it,” she said. “There always seems to be a high-school reunion or a family reunion because people want to come back and see everyone, and what better time to do it than for the festival?
“I have family that used to live in Colorado. They would come back for the festival and see their family and friends. It’s become a meeting place for families and friends, people like to see one another.
“We always try to have a good mix of stuff — a car show, the run, bands, different kinds of food, corn hole, and rides, too. We try to have something for everyone.”
The main event begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, featuring one of the area’s best local bands, The Junk, in the dance/beer tent on Mill Street. It is open to people 21 and older and requires a cover charge of $5. (The event is sponsored by Ohio Telecom.)
The corn hole tournament, which costs $25 per team, begins at 4 p.m. with teams needing to register at 3:30 p.m. It takes place at the Croghan Colonial Bank parking lot. Karaoke with Tim & Tony begins at 4 p.m. and is sponsored by Varga Custom Concrete.
The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with the opening ceremonies and the national anthem being sung by Dani Fritch. Then there’s the royalty crowning, the baking contest, a baby contest and the always-popular grand parade at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, the festivities began at 10:30 a.m. with a church service with Shoreline Church. There’s the car show (Noon-4 p.m.), the 5K Run & Walk at 2 p.m., and the Class ‘A’ Dance Studio will put on a performance at 2 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., the Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools’ choirs will perform.
With tens of thousands of visitors coming to the event, there is a great deal of money spent in Oak Harbor.
“We’ve done economic-impact studies, and it’s quite a bit of money,” said Winterfield. “It’s not only for all of the clubs and organizations that have booths here, but it’s also the gas stations, restaurants and bars.
“The study estimated that $575,000 is generated. Some of that goes home with the vendors, but a lot goes to our local businesses.”
It’s free, fun, it’s family friendly,” Winterfield said. “We have over 100 vendors and a great parade, I would say it’s a good time. We’re so fortunate to have a festival this year. We’re excited to welcome everyone back.”
For more information, you can find a complete list of the events at www.OakHarborAppleFestival.com. You can also contact the Oak Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce at 419-898-0479 or email them at email@example.com.