Sweet time at annual Applebutter Festival PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Monday, 14 October 2013 10:19
A crowd of people enjoy the Applebutter Festival in Grand Rapids Sunday morning. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
GRAND RAPIDS - Tens of thousands filled the streets of the village once again as the Applebutter Fest returned for its 36th year on Sunday.
While the official start time of the event is 10 a.m., throngs were already present, purchasing food and taking in the many vendors and shops that had opened early, by 8:30 a.m.
In previous years, the fest has attracted as many as 50,000 to the village for the one-day event.
Among the popular attractions was the stirring of the apple butter itself in kettles just to the side of the town hall. Bystanders were able to try their hand at it, and were given a sticker indicating that they had stirred the concoction with their own hands (and the traditional long-handled paddle).
Spectators enjoy the festivities during the Applebutter Festival in Grand Rapids Sunday morning.
More than 2,300 pints of apple butter were to be available for purchase at the event, with 1,300 of those pints having been cooked during the Sept. 28 "Big Stir" at Kryder Farms in McClure. An additional 1,000 pints were to be simmered on site at the festival.
The line to purchase apple butter began forming near the canal just after 9 a.m. - though sales were not to start until 10 a.m. - and by sale time the line reached into the street.
A variety of musical acts entertained the crowds as they took in the festival, including a Dixieland band and folk music. A ventriloquist was among those on hand at the children's stage to entertain the kids.
Just prior to entering the downtown, near Bluebell Island, antique tractors and other farm equipment were set up, and children had the opportunity to try their hand at removing corn from the cob, both with a crank machine, and its motor-driven modern counterpart.
Across the canal and along the river, the Living History Encampment was set up, with demonstrators displaying the way of life of the frontier settlers. Re-enactors dressed as soldiers from the Civil War were on hand, and the sound of cannon fire boomed out across at intervals the river. Others dressed as World War II soldiers showed the arms of that period, even demonstrating the firing of a heavy machine gun out over the river.
The crowds intensified just before noon, and while traffic had been light on River Road earlier in the day, by that time the roadway going towards the village had become a veritable parking lot as attendees sought out parking at one of the large lots set aside for the occasion.

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