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Adams County National Apple Harvest Festival returns

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As crowds shuffled back and forth throughout the grounds of the National Apple Harvest Festival, they heard a voice bellowing, "Apple daiquiris! Best drink in the fair for 28 years! They wouldn't let us come back if they weren't good!"

The Knights of Columbus Hanover Council 871 sells the daiquiris every year — one of many vendors that have returned faithfully to the annual festival in Arendtsville — now in its 52nd year.

On Sunday, the festival celebrated its last day of the year, promoting the local apple harvest season while supporting locals.

"The proceeds go right back to our community," said Ashly Wilkinson, president of festival organizer, Upper Adams Jaycees.  "Everything we do here is for a great cause."

"It's kind of just home," said a family of six from Gettysburg who goes to the festival each year.

Here's how you can enjoy the festival next year — with a taste of the treats and activities enjoyed at the festival this weekend:


Apple-themed treats are plentiful at the Adams County festival, including applesauce, fried apples, Don Hershey's famous apple sausage sandwich, and an apple syrup and pancake pavilion, where there are samples of apple-flavored syrups. To take advantage of the local apple harvest, you can buy Jonagold, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Gala, or Honeycrisp apples, all supplied from Sandoe's Fruit Market, which receives them from Biglerville.

To get a taste of apple in a savory meal, opt for a Mad Dash grilled cheese with apple butter, or go for other fall flavors, such as pumpkin, with a pumpkin funnel cake.

Demonstrations and displays

Rows of antique automobiles were showcased on festival grounds, including a 1925 Rickenbacker D6, one of only 100 known models left — and there are only 24 that are running.

Attendees can watch an operating shingle mill, powered by a steam engine, make shingles for roofs and siding. The mill is the third one used for demonstrations at the festival, which started back in the festival's seventh or eighth year, according to Frank Boldenberg, a volunteer at the demonstration.

Noni Many Hawks, a Native American woman from the Eastern Mohegan tribe, describes the Western Cheyenne and Sioux tribes' housing on display at the festival, originally made from buffalo hide. The nomadic tribes would carry their houses with them as they traveled through states such as Wyoming and Colorado.

"I have a cousin — a distant cousin — with it set up in his backyard," she said. He lives in the 35-foot structure in the summer.


Families can take part in a half-hour tour through nearby apple orchards, learning about the harvest season.

A petting zoo with animals such as bunnies, ferrets, alpacas, and ducklings is available for kids, or they can play in the "Ye Olde Hay Mound."

Musicians play a variety of styles, including classic rock such as ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man," on stages throughout the festival, where festival-goers can sit on hay bales and watch them perform.

Donations and raffles

Dawson Garvick, a junior at New Oxford School, worked with Troy Starner to harvest about 400 pink pumpkins on one-fourth of an acre in New Oxford. Starner wanted to raise money for breast cancer awareness, and 100 percent of profits from the pumpkin sales will go toward breast cancer research or expenses.

Steam-O-Rama collects old farm equipment and steam engines to preserve them and put them on display, each year raffling off one to the public. The company, which has been operating for 60 years, raffled its last piece of equipment this year because of the owner retiring, according to vendor Jean Bryan.​

Watch: Meet Kyle Eaton
Kyle Eaton shows his 1925 Rickenbacker D6 at the 52nd Annual National Apple Harvest festival.
Lindsay VanAsdalan, The Evening Sun