30th Annual Apple Festival is this weekend

30th Annual Apple Festival is this weekend

Celeste Benjamin, of North Smithfield, right, looks over the colorful assortment of fall decorations for sale by Lori Dessert, of Lori’s Petals and Bows, at last year’s Apple Festival. (Breeze file photo by Charles Lawrence)

JOHNSTON – The Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce will host the 30th annual Apple Festival, a two-day celebration designed to close out the summer on a high note and usher in fall. The festival runs this weekend, Sept. 16-17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, at Johnston Memorial Park, 1583 Hartford Ave.

Every year, the festival draws about 5,000 people, say organizers, with something for all ages at this time-honored event. The weekend kicks off autumn with great tunes and the crisp scent of fresh apple pie.

Lesley Palagi, event coordinator, says this is the second time the Northern Rhode Island Chamber is hosting the annual fair.

“Of course, the Pie Baking Contest is a traditional activity that is done every year,” she said. “But this year, we can also look forward to more vendors and more amazing food.”

Among the food vendors she highlights are the award-winning GottaQ BBQ, as well as Frisky Fries, Poppy’s Popcorn, Mickey G’s Clam Shack and Buddy’s Diner. With the abundance of food, there will also be a sizable dessert section. The Ice Cream Machine of Cumberland is offering homemade ice cream. CaFeiNa and Rhode Island favorite Del’s Lemonade will also provide tasty treats.

Children attending the event will enjoy Kid Zone activities, along with pony and carnival rides. Additionally, children can meet and greet with the Pawtucket Red Sox mascots, Cardi’s mascots, and Andy the Armadillo from Texas Roadhouse. Fun for the whole family includes face painting, vendor tables, and arts and crafts.

Live music and entertainment will keep the energy up all weekend. The Johnston Memorial High School Band and Chorus will open Saturday’s festivities. Vocalist Christiana Rodi is one of the main performers this weekend. The classic rock band No Consensus, bluegrass music by The Bill Thibodeau Band, and The Billy Harpin Band are among the variety of musical acts the fair has to offer.

Though there are many exciting activities to look forward to over the weekend, the Pie Baking Contest is still a huge draw for many festival goers. The winner of the contest is awarded a $200 gift card to Stop & Shop. This year’s pie judging is scheduled to take place on Saturday at 1 p.m.

There is no admission to get into the festival. Free parking will be available at Johnston High School with complimentary shuttle service.

For more information, visit www.nrichamber.com or call 401-334-1000.