LINCOLN -- Floats in cheerful autumn colors included lots of hay bales for youngsters and adults to sit on...cheer teams rallied atop fire trucks...antique cars tooled slowly along... veterans smiled and waved from their wagon... high school and rodeo royalty were carried on wheels or hooves... politicians running for election or re-election adorned convertibles... the Lincoln High School marching band strutted its stuff... and a brigade of tractors and horse riders rumbled and clattered along.
All offering a slice of hometown pie, apple pie, of course.
It was Saturday morning at the 43rd annual Arkansas Apple Festival.
Margaret Choffel of Fayetteville, Ark., said the last time she saw the Apple Festival parade was about 30 years ago with her boys. She said she has attended the festival other times since then, but she never made it in time for the parade. She said the parade's variety, charm and authenticity made her "smile the whole time."
The 30-minute parade aside, Lincoln Square was alive with activity.
Alongside booths offering cider samples, fresh apple slices, bags of apples sold by Lincoln Masonic Lodge #615, and fried apple pies and dumplings were booths selling a wide variety of items.
Festival visitors could browse through around 100 vendor tents with candles, soaps, homemade leather belts and brooms, home décor, clothing, essential oils, knives, leather goods, scarves, textiles, handiwork, art, jewelry, artists creating caricatures or more flattering sketches, walking sticks and canes, birdhouses, wreaths, toys, seasonal items and much more.
Rhonda Hulse, who volunteers as one of the co-chairwomen for the Apple Festival, said she was pleased with the variety of vendor offerings and with how many of the vendors were true crafters and artisans who make their own wares.
Kim Huchingson with Southern Fried Pies of Hot Springs was one of the vendors making her own wares.
She said she can honestly say her pies are "Grandma made" because her 95-year-old grandmother still helps make the fried pies.
"People sometimes cry when they eat our pies. They say, 'I never thought I'd ever taste a fried pie like my mama or grandma used to make.'"
She and her helpers use dried fruit in their fruit pies. The dough is made from scratch and rolled out, not stamped.
With the craft and other vendors taking up the square, food trucks, bouncy houses and shaded seating were situated along the perimeter of the square, and the annual breakfast in the Lincoln Senior Center looked like it was doing brisk business just before the parade.
Dark clouds moved in from time to time but offered only scattered, light sprinkles, just enough to keep the dust down and temper the air.
The reasons people said they came to the Apple Festival largely fell into two categories: either they like apples or they like the socialization and the event's friendly, community feel.
By noon, the parade crowd was mostly gone, but more people were streaming in, with a rough estimate of close to a thousand people attending, just Saturday morning. The festival, always held on the first weekend in October, began Friday and continued Sunday.
Choffel left just before the noon apple core throwing contest. She said she was disappointed she didn't get fresh pork rinds, one of the reasons she said she has come in the past, but she was loaded down with a gallon of fresh-pressed, unfiltered apple cider, a bag of kettle corn, a bag of Arkansas Black apples and three or four Christmas gift purchases.
And she was still smiling.
General News on 10/10/2018
Print Headline: A Slice Of Apple Pie