NAPPANEE — One of Indiana’s top fall festivals resumes when Nappanee hosts the annual Apple Festival starting Thursday and running through Sunday.
Beginning in 1975 as a one-block festival, this community of 7,000 expects to welcome over 80,000 people to the three-and-a-half day event.
In 2013 and 2016, the Nappanee Apple Festival was chosen as No. 1 in Indiana in the Top Ten Fall Festival Signature Food Items for its 7-foot apple pie. Over 800 slices are served to visitors.
The festival showcases two stages of entertainment, over 150 exhibitors, carnival rides, parade with signature military aircraft fly-over, Miss Apple Blossom scholarship pageant, Power From the Past Antique Tractor & Engine Show, corn hole tournament, 5K road run, “Napple” baking contest, garden tractor pull, kids and adult pedal pull contests, Wings and Wheels show at Nappanee airport, apple peeling and pie-eating contests, and other activities throughout the event.
A baby-changing and nursing-mothers station is located downtown in the heart of the activity.
Headlining the entertainment will be Loop Rawlins, a “One Man Wild West Show,” that begins at 6 p.m. Friday and runs through 4 p.m. Sunday on one of three free entertainment stages. His unique act of trick roping, whip cracking and fancy gun spinning has thrilled thousands of audiences.
The other two stages will offer musical genres ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to classic rock, folk, bluegrass, country, gospel and variety, and children’s favorites including comedy juggler and ventriloquist Mike Hemmelgarn, Silly Safaris and the Granpa Crachet Kids Show and Puppets.
Organizers also tout apple favorites: pie, fritters, dumplings, turnovers, fry pies, bread, applesauce, cider and butter to devour during the festival or take home to enjoy later.
A list of entertainment, events and map can be downloaded from the 2019 Apple Festival Events brochure: www.nappaneeapplefestival.org.
The festival is supported by local and area retail and corporate businesses, City of Nappanee employees, Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce and a dedicated group of volunteers, organizers said. Principal sponsors are Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, CommunityFiber, Kountry Cabinets and Home Furnishings, Martin’s Super Market and WSBT.