Monday, October 23, 2006

35th annual...

The 35th Annual Georgia Apple Festival!!

Every year 'bout this time, over 300 crafters and thousands of tourists descend onto the fairgrounds by the river that runs through this otherwise quiet little town of Ellijay, Georgia.

A year's worth of local preparation culminates in the annual festival of the apple, that red delicious fruit that seems to thrive here in the foothills of the Appalachians.

The lines form early, lines of cars on the highway heading into town, lines of cars in the many designated parking areas, lines of people waiting on a bus, lines getting off the bus waiting on a ticket, lines at the bathrooms, lines at the food vendors.

There are also lines of tents, rows of craftsmen with a year's worth of wares, their traveling livelihood in a tent under the sun. Folks gather 'round to feel the heat of the blacksmith's fire and watch the sawdust fly off the scroll saw. Kids make sand art, ride the bucking bull, and climb the fake rock wall. The entertainment pavilion is popular for its shade and for the toe-tapping rhythm of the cloggers.

The food is plentiful and varied:

Fried green tomatoes, roasted corn, boiled peanuts, ice cream, fried dill pickles, corn dogs, Brats and kraut, lemonade, kettle corn, roasted almonds, gyros, cotton candy.

And of course Apples!
Caramel apples, fried pies
Apple dumplings, apple cider
Candy apples, apple bread
Red delicious, Jonagold, and Granny Smith

We used to avoid this invasion of our little town, but now we usually stop by at some point, just to see what is new out there in the craft world, maybe see some folks we know, enjoy the beautiful weather. Remember when we used to watch Carrie clog up on that stage way back when? Remember when Buddy and Sue used to have booths here, back in the lean years working the craft circuit?

Since we are locals, we manage to avoid most of the congestion and lines, knowing all the back ways in and out and around. It seemed like the festival went off successfully, with early predictions of a record crowd. The crafters will be packing up and moving on to the next stop, the festival promoters will be counting their money and making plans for next year, and all the tourists will head back home with some delicious apples and the longing to come back again.


John Cowart said...

This was a beautiful weekend for it!

Motherkitty said...

Dang, I can smell all the apples way over here in KY. Sounds like a fun time was had by all. We had a Heritage Days festival here in our small town over the weekend and it was crowded and full of activities.

Did you buy anything?

Anonymous said...

neat - we had a local crafty thing this weekend too - minus the fair food. I sure do miss fried pickles - the haven't made it this far north...

doubleknot said...

Darn it all - the only way I like apples is fresh but you have my mouth watering for all sorts of apple things. And the crafts - it has been a while since I have been to a craft show.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Crowds and lines...something that we have also stayed away from except for the early years and this year.

At least you have plenty to eat at your festival and I love all the ways that apples are offered...yummm.

The Arts & Craft Fair that we attended only had one refreshment stand with little offerings...arrrrgh.