By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor


As has become its tradition, the Salem Apple Butter Festival always features homemade apple butter, slow-simmered and paddle-stirred outdoors in copper kettles.

It is hard to believe that school has been back in session now for six weeks, and in just a matter of days, calendar pages will be turned to October!  The autumn season has arrived, bringing with it the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy what remains of good weather before the temperatures drop too drastically.

One of those outdoor opportunities is coming up next week as Salem hosts its 34th annual Apple Butter Festival, an event that draws anywhere from 6,000-8,000 attendees – depending upon the weather’s cooperation.  The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 4th and continues through Sunday, October 7th.

As usual, many of the event’s activities will take place right in downtown Salem at Depot Park.  Apple Butter Festival Chairman Gary Martin stated, “Our Depot facility was ravaged by a fire in 2008 and it is still undergoing a restoration process, but most of the festival events will be held in the park area, which is fully functional.”

There will be a lot going on throughout this four-day festival and it traditionally meets the requirements for a fun time for all ages.

Martin stressed that it is a ‘festival’, not a ‘carnival’ so there are no amusement rides.  However, he noted that there will be lots of games and activities to hold children’s interest – such as climbing walls, a greased pig contest, and much more!

Perhaps the first thing you will notice if you attend is the aroma of apple butter being prepared the old-fashioned way – outdoors … in copper kettles … over a crackling fire … and put in jars right before your eyes!   According to Mr. Martin, there will be four  teams of apple butter makers hard at work all four days, so there will be plenty to purchase and take home.

And as visitors stroll down Salem’s Main Street, it will be quite visible that this festival gathers much community support!

“The downtown businesses nearly all participate in a decorating contest during the festival and it really gives the city a festive appearance!” he added.

Some of the activities in addition to apple butter making will include: a bicycle poker ride, a car show, celebrity auction, quilt show, talent contest, poster contest, apple pie contest, apple butter contest, cornhole tournament, horseshoe tourney, bingo, grand  parade, fireworks, 5-K Run, and the coronation of all of the many 2018 Apple Butter Festival royalty.

In addition, Martin said that there will be vendors galore – both food vendors and craft vendors.   This typically draws a lot of participation as well; this year nearly 100 spaces are spoken for!

Don’t forget that there will be entertainment of all kinds featured each day from afternoon until late evening on both the Main Stage and the Pavilion Stage.   For a listing of times, locations, and performers, visit the festival website at www.salemapplebutterfestival.com.

There is no admission charge at the Salem festival, and all entertainment is free!  This is a “family festival’ and a drug-free and alcohol-free event.  Parking is on-street or in lots.  Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend the Salem Apple Butter Festival next week!