For many people, fall is their favorite season and also one of the busiest, especially around the Courthouse Square. Activities begin with the annual Apple Festival on Oct. 15-16. The Apple Festival is not a part of the official MainStreet Cleveland calendar. However, MainStreet Executive Director Sharon Marr tells me she is happy that downtown can host this event. Sharon said “the backdrop of the Courthouse and the historic buildings gives the festival a great nostalgic feeling. The Cleveland Apple Festival is a great weekend of family activities.”
The festival is a family event that offers a juried arts and crafts show, live music, food booths, pony and hay rides, entertainment, children’s activities and much more. This year children 12 and under are invited to visit the Trailhead Bicycle Kid’s Zone where all children’s activities are free, including pony rides.
One of the most popular events is the Apple Dessert Contest. Festival organizers are looking for the best homemade apple dessert in the valley. You can get an entry form from the festival website at www.clevelandapplefestival.org. Bring your recipe and dessert to the gazebo on the Square Saturday morning for judging between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Winners will be announced from the stage at 2 p.m. Submit your best apple dessert and you could win the $50 grand prize or a second place prize of $25.
Festivities will get under way Saturday at 10 a.m., and again Sunday at 1 p.m. Between 75 and 100 artists & craft exhibitors are expected to be on hand for the event and vendor applications are available on the festival website.
Also on Sunday afternoon, girls between the ages of 5-12 are invited to compete for the titles of Little Miss Apple Blossom, Junior Miss Apple Blossom and Miss Apple Blossom. Each contestant will need to dress in their best farm or country girl outfit. Judging will be based on costume and presentation. Dress rehearsal is at 2 p.m. with the contest at 3 p.m. The three age divisions are 5-7 years, 8-10 years and 11-12 years. The cost to enter is $10 for each contestant.
If the cool fall air makes you hungry you can eat your fill of apple pie in the festival’s pie-eating contest at 2 p.m. Sunday. So bring the family and your appetite and enjoy a day on the Courthouse Square this weekend. For more information about the Apple Festival, log on to www.clevelandapplefestival.org. The festival is a 501(c)(3) public charity that donates all net proceeds to other non-profit organizations.
The Apple Festival is one of many events celebrated on the square during the fall. Tuesday, Oct. 18, and Thursday, Oct. 20, are the dates for the annual “Evening of Mystery and Folklore Storytelling” hosted by Bank of Cleveland and the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. The event, which sold out last year, delves into the haunted mystery tales surrounding some of the historic buildings in the downtown area. Tickets are now on sale at the Chamber of Commerce or the Bank of Cleveland.
Immediately following the Mystery event, MainStreet Cleveland’s monthly antique car show will close out its season on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Courthouse Square’s largest event of the year, of course, is the annual Block Party scheduled for Monday, Oct. 31. This is followed by the annual Christmas parade which will wind its way around the Courthouse in December as thousands line the streets for a glimpse of Old Saint Nick himself.
These fall festivals and other events are a part of our history and culture, and they contribute to our community’s quality of life. These are more of the many reasons I say … Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.