On Saturday, October 19, downtown Chambersburg celebrated its annual Apple Fest event. This event commemorates the beginning of fall and the harvest of one of Pennsylvania’s biggest agricultural products, apples. It started as a celebration of the harvest but has evolved into yet another event to bring people together to appreciate the many local businesses, craftsmen, and artists Chambersburg has to offer. With nearly 100 vendors, there’s something there for everyone, and as always there was plenty to see.
There was a wide variety of different types of handmade jewelry, furniture, textiles, signs and home decorations, and much more. A few booths also had secondhand items, such as antique jewelry, knick-knacks, decorations, and clothing. A few local organizations and businesses were set up to talk to visitors about the services they offer, and a few had activities set up for kids (in addition to a large area set aside with games, toys, and other entertainment for children). As always, one of the biggest areas was devoted to the biggest attraction Apple Fest offers: the food. Local restaurants set up booths selling some of their most popular dishes (with some twists to keep things interesting), and food trucks lined the streets and circled the fountain in the square, with dishes ranging from fried festival foods, to crab cakes, to modern takes on traditional Greek and Mediterranean foods, to seafood. Much like the vendors, there were plenty of options for food that anyone could enjoy. However, surprisingly enough, apple-based foods seemed to be few and far between. They could mostly be found in smaller booths selling baked goods mixed in with the other vendors, but the few options that were available did not disappoint those who came to the festival for that reason specifically.
Beyond the vendors, going to Apple Fest is an interesting experience for the local businesses alone. Nearly all of the shops, cafes, and restaurants keep their doors open for the duration of the festival, and it’s a great opportunity to get a group of friends together to check out a new place you may not have otherwise visited. Most of the business owners are there to talk to visitors, and those that stick around throughout the day are very friendly. Most of them are already decorated for Halloween, so it can be nice to take a break from the crowds in the middle of the road looking at the vendors to walk along the sidewalks looking through storefronts. The Apple Festival can certainly be overwhelming with the sheer amount of things to do and people to see, but it is absolutely worth it to spend time with friends checking out new places and celebrating yet another tradition this town has to offer.