SOUTHINGTON - The second weeked of the Apple Harvest festival kicked off Friday with pleasant weather, excited crowds and happy vendors following a successful first weekend.
Young parents wheeled their children in strollers from booth to booth to check out diverse offerings from local restaurants and vendors. Older visitors reminisced about how they had been coming to the festival since childhood. During the second year of the 49th annual community festival, it was clear to see why it had endured for nearly half a century.
“The vendors are pleased; everyone did well our first week,” said Dave Champagne, festival organizer. “It may very well have been the largest crowd we’ve ever had at last Sunday’s parade. It looks like we’re on track for more good weather and this week we’ll see a lot of folks coming in from out of town to our craft shows. Many of them follow particular vendors and this year we have about 60 of them set up behind our main stage.”
Laura Brasile, her daughter Sam Newberry and Newberry’s three-year-old daughter came to enjoy the festival together.
Brasile said that she and her daughter had come for the craft show and to see jewelers while her granddaughter would be playing in the kids’ carnival.
“I grew up in town and we live very close by,” said Brasile. “I love to come for the Jasmine chicken, the pumpkin fritters and the fried dough.”
“I wish I could try everything,” said Newberry.
Pat DaMelia and Patty Olivieri returned to the festival this weekend after enjoying it last Sunday.
“I saw that the tents were back and decided to walk down from Family Dollar,” said DaMelia. “We like the crafts and even though it was was a bit crowded picking up the shuttle from the high school helped us get in and out easily.”
Rob Smith, his wife Rose and their 13-year-old daughter Erika carried a giant bag of four-dozen of the festival’s famous apple fritters.
“I grew up in Cheshire and my wife grew up in Wallingford - but this was always the best place to come for fritters,” said Smith. “We’ll be dispersing them among the family. They’re at their best right now when their hot but they are still delicious even a couple days later.”
John Tavallozzi and his wife Elaine were not fritter fans, but both had come to the festival all three days last weekend and were back again Friday.
“I like to walk around and see what catches my eye,” said Tavallozzi. I grew up in Southington and I remember when this festival used to be all week.”
Elaine Tavallozzi said that the two of them loved the apple crisps from First Congregational Church.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.