SOUTHINGTON — Sunshine and brisk fall weather set the scene for the first weekend of the 51st Annual Southington Apple Harvest Festival.
Festival-goers could visit 80 different vendors, including food, crafts, activities and plenty of apple treats — fritters, cider, doughnuts and more.
“This is one of the biggest community events that the town has,” festival coordinator Dave Lapreay said on Saturday. “It’s just a great two weekends of great food, free entertainment and exhibits.”
A novelty at this year’s festival was Joseph Damiano’s The Butterfly Experience, a tent that allowed visitors to interact with dozens of monarch butterflies.
“There’s something here for everybody,” Lapreay said.
If the weather is good, Lapreay is expecting to draw about 100,000 people over the two weekends. Admission and parking are also free of charge.
“It’s been great. We get to see people we haven’t seen in awhile and interact with new people we’ve never met,” said Sharon Kupiec, a festival volunteer. “This is a neat little town and a supportive town. The festival brings people in to see how hospitable we are.”
Norris Bennett was attending with her daughter for the fifth straight year.
“I’ve got a fritter in my hand, the weather is beautiful, I’m with my daughter and the town is just so cute,” she said. “It doesn’t get much more fall than that.”
The festival also benefits nearby businesses.
“We have merchants in the area that are packed with people, the restaurants, the bars,” Lapreay said.
“We’re a big town, obviously, but we always think that we’re a small town. We have that small hometown feeling.”
The Apple Harvest Festival will continue today and next weekend, Oct. 11-13.
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