SOUTHINGTON — A second day of sunny skies and warm temperatures added to the fun of Sunday’s Apple Harvest Festival, as thousands of visitors welcomed back traditions like the festival parade and apple pie eating contest.
“It’s a nice way to slide into an autumn mood,” said Cheshire resident Lucia Matos. “I missed these kinds of events. They are just so festive. Glad it wasn't canceled this year.”
The 52nd Apple Harvest Festival kicked off Friday, and runs through next weekend, following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Among the family-friendly events and entertainment, festival-goers had a chance to sample over 80 different foods for sale — everything from apple cider donuts and kettle corn to gourmet poutine and fried Oreos, as well as the festival’s trademark apple fritters. Visitors 16 and older had a chance to partake in the apple pie eating contest.
Sean Sweeney, who won the pie eating contest, said a light breakfast helped him defeat other participants. He had participated in the contest three times previously with his friend Ryan Tudino, but this was the first time Sweeney won.
“It’s a fall tradition for us,” said Sweeney. “Just something fun to do and make fun memories.”
Following the pie-eating contest, visitors watched Sunday’s marquee event, the festival parade. This year it was themed “A Return to Core Traditions” — with healthcare workers, with first responders serving as parade marshals.
There was increased police presence throughout the day following a stabbing Saturday night that left a 16-year-old hospitalized in stable condition as of Sunday, police said in a statement. The incident did not affect Sunday’s schedule and police and organizers welcomed the public to attend events as usual.
“Throughout the remainder of the festival the Southington police will continue to work with our community partners with an emphasis on public safety,” Lt. Keith Egan said.
The festival will continue on Friday, Oct. 8, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 10, noon – 5 p.m.
The alternative rock band Vertical Horizon is scheduled to perform on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. on the festival stage facing the green. The band is best known for the early 2000s chart-topping
hits "Everything You Want," “You’re a God,” and "Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)."
All festival concerts are free with no tickets required.
For a complete schedule check out the festival brochure at www.southington.org.