Hendersonville -- As the warm summer days give way to the crispness of early autumn, Hendersonville, North Carolina, gears up for its most anticipated event of the year – the North Carolina Apple Festival.
For four days during the Labor Day weekend, this charming town comes alive with a celebration of apples, showcasing the significance of the apple industry not only to Henderson County but to the entire state of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Apple Festival, now in its 76th year, stands as a testament to the region's agricultural heritage and the hard work of its farmers. North Carolina proudly ranks as the seventh-largest apple-producing state in the nation, with Henderson County holding the crown as the largest apple-producing county in the state. In fact, an impressive 85 percent of all the apples grown in North Carolina come from this fruitful county.
The festival's timing during the Labor Day weekend is no coincidence. It strategically falls at the peak of the apple harvest season when the orchards are abundant with ripe, juicy fruits waiting to be picked. Festival-goers can experience the true essence of the harvest season as they indulge in a variety of apple-related festivities.
The heart of the Apple Festival lies in its street fair on Main Street. This lively and colorful market teems with vendors offering an array of apple treats and locally-made crafts. From traditional apple pies to unique apple-infused delicacies, there's no shortage of delicious options to satisfy any palate. It's a feast for the senses, with the aromas of fresh apples filling the air and the joyful chatter of visitors adding to the festive ambiance.
While the street fair on Main Street takes center stage, the festival offers much more to explore. Food enthusiasts can start their mornings with delightful apple breakfasts, a delightful way to kick off each day. Additionally, the Gem & Mineral Spectacular captivates visitors with a dazzling display of sparkling gems and minerals, adding an extra touch of wonder to the festivities.
For families with children, the Apple Festival is a treasure trove of fun-filled activities. From interactive games and face painting to pony rides and bouncy castles, kids are sure to be delighted and entertained throughout the weekend. The festival's focus on family-friendly events reflects the tight-knit community spirit that defines Hendersonville.
The pinnacle of excitement arrives with the festival's grand parade. Colorful floats, marching bands, and community groups create a vibrant procession that winds its way through Hendersonville's streets, captivating the hearts of both participants and spectators. It's a symbol of community pride and unity, truly embodying the spirit of the festival.
While the Apple Festival is a celebration of the apple industry's significance, it also showcases the spirit of agritourism that thrives in Hendersonville and Henderson County. With more than 40 varieties of apples, including Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Stayman, Fuji, and Galas, the region offers a diverse apple-picking experience. Many orchards open their gates to visitors for U-pick adventures, creating cherished memories of apple picking with family and friends.
Beyond the orchards, agritourism activities abound, making the Apple Festival an experience to cherish. Visitors can venture through corn mazes, enjoy wagon rides through picturesque landscapes, savor apple cannons, treat themselves to cider doughnuts and apple slushies, and so much more. These activities not only enrich the festival experience but also provide an opportunity for visitors to connect with the rural roots of Hendersonville and embrace the beauty of nature.
Hendersonville's North Carolina Apple Festival is more than just a celebration; it is a tribute to the hard work of local farmers, an exploration of the region's agricultural heritage, and a joyous gathering of people from all walks of life. With its rich history and the bounty of apples, the festival continues to be a source of pride and unity for the entire community. As the 76th year of the festival approaches, both locals and tourists eagerly await this delightful event that showcases the sweet success of North Carolina's apple industry and the warm hospitality of Hendersonville.
So, join in the festivities, pick some apples, and create lasting memories at the North Carolina Apple Festival!
Check out North Carolina Apple Festival Hendersonville September 1 - 4 in our events section for more information about this year's festival!
WNCTimes Majorie Farrington