There is something tempting behind the word festival. I could make up a festival on blisters and corneas on my feet and I bet people would come to it. Large crowds will flock, booths will set up in the hot, shimmering sun, and my sore aching feet will be put to the test of show.
Now, I would never hope to ever set up this festival. It sounds like a great double dog dare but I don’t want people staring at me feet, not even the people who really want to stare at my feet. Okay, my whole point here is the Apple Festival in Hendersonville, NC.
Even their sign is an apple.
I’m gonna say this right off the bat here, it’s a festival that is great the first time but it’s not compelling to go to every year… Unless you have some sort of tradition, then by all means do it. I don’t care what makes you happy! As long as you’re happy! The reason why I said what I just said is because I’ve been to the Apple Festival twice before and the first time it was great, the second time it was alright but this time I wanted to shoot myself in the foot.
Wading through hot, sweaty crowds of people all trying to clamor for a glimpse at the same booth your stalking all while keeping your eye out for a measly apple stand is not my idea of fun. It’s early in the season to be seeing some ripe apples, I get that, but when I go to an apple festival in the land of apples I expect to see apples.
Like, a ton.
One of the precious apple stands.
I want them falling from the sky, or for people to be judging the biggest apple, I wanna see people bobbing for apples in a pool— shaped like an apple! The most apple stands there were probably 4… or 5. They stood at the end of each corner in the downtown area. Now, let me get at the positive points of this festival. First off, it’s probably a great place to take your kids, cause there were tons. Second, it has got a real carnival feel to the place.
The whole downtown area is shut down of car traffic and the foot traffic is heavy. The equivalent in my point of view would be like placing each car in Time Square at rush hour with a person or family. At one point I swear I thought people were just staring at a trashcan because it might’ve had an apple on it. Rides were set up and I even had my first tasting of a fried oreo! Third, the comradery. People had smiles on their faces. People were actually smiling because they were at this festival.
The gobs of people… Wading through them was like wading through a fog… If fog were hot sweaty people.
Now, I haven’t gone to too many festivals but this one is probably different. People are happy. It’s a family tradition (even though it’s not mine) and they look forward to this time of the year. Saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall. The apples are only a symbol of that. There is something about the fall that makes people happy. I guess it could be the fact that the sultry, sweating days of summer have finally shown itself out.
When my family and I first got there we were greeted by the food stands. Funnel cakes and road house burgers seemed to be the main delicacy. We walked from the start (the food stands) to finish, which would be the other end of downtown Hendersonville. In the middle is a big stage set up in front of the town hall where you can listen to covers of Tom Petty or Lynyrd Skynyrd to your hearts content.
If you’re trying to get around the crowds then I would recommend walking on the actual sidewalks instead of in the mosh pit of people in the street. All the way down there are booths set up and shop doors propped open for eager patrons to peruse through.
Every store seemed like a Mecca in the hot sun, blasting the A/C, seducing all of us sweaty gawkers. For lunch, you can eat at a packed restaurant or you can go back down to the aisle of food stands and get yourself some carny delicatessen. I got a “philly” cheesesteak and fries. There was no Philly in this sammy. It was pulled pork with cheesewiz on a hoagie. Why do I always get jipped when it comes to me trying out a Philly cheese steak that isn’t remotely next to Philadelphia? But alas, I have learned.
For dessert, I got fried Oreos, and if you’ve never had one before you should try it. That’s all I’m saying. After lunch my family and I tried to make it to the end of the booths when it suddenly started pouring.
Huge droplets poured and people were actually surprised when they got wet, which surprised me because a huge, dark cloud was hanging over us. I raced my Dad to the car and found we didn’t have the keys— my Mom did, but thankfully she was right behind us. Kids cried walking back in the rain and people gave up trying to shield themselves. The Apple Festival Day 1 was over and I was happy to get back home.
The calm before the storm.
Note* Hendersonville, NC is a super charming, quaint town in North Carolina. I honestly go there all. The. Time. Don’t judge it for the lack of apples this early in the season. When fall actually becomes fall the apples will actually fall from the sky.
There is a happy ending to this story! We did find apples!