Despite cool weather, crowds turn out for Apple Harvest Festival parade

SOUTHINGTON — A brisk and windy October day didn’t stop thousands from flocking to downtown for the annual Apple Harvest Festival.

The streets were crowded with youngsters and families, some waiting in line for the festival’s famous apple fritters.

The grand marshal of Sunday’s festival parade was Ed Dressel. From 1992 to 2019, he served as festival coordinator and then parade announcer.

Julia Berardinelli, assistant festival coordinator, said at least a few thousand attended Sunday, despite gray skies and unseasonably cool temperatures.

“Turnout has been great, considering the weather hasn’t been perfect,” Berardinelli said. “The first Sunday is always most popular because of the parade.”

Berardinelli said that since it wasn’t hot, the crowd could warm up with hot drinks and apple fritters.

Saturday night’s fireworks were canceled and have been rescheduled for Oct. 8.

Nelson Rivera and his daughters, Layla Paradis and Azaleza Rivera, attended Sunday.

“The apple fritters are the best,” Nelson Rivera said.

Two-year-old Azaleza said she had a cupcake, cheese fries and fried dough.

“I’m so full,” she said.

Rivera said he enjoyed a seasonal beer and that the kids could have whatever they wanted.

In the festival’s food section, the aroma of many foods filled the air, including baked potatoes, apple fritters, popcorn and meatball subs.

Scout Troop 17, led by assistant scout masters Art Quinlan and Jim Dinnan, said they enjoy working in the food booth with scouts because they get to see how they work together on food prep and serving customers.

“We have been at the festival since the beginning, and everything is cooked here on site,” Dinnan said. “On a day like today with four ovens going like this, it’s keeping us warm.”

Proceeds from the food they sell go towards trips and other activities.

“We depend on this, and it’s like a fundraiser for us,” Quinlan said. “We show that these kids can do things on their own.”

The festival continues next weekend.



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