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Autumn Festivals: National Apple Harvest Festival

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My National Apple Harvest Festival Experience.

October will be here before we know it. My how time flies. Summer ends and the children begin to settle back into the routine of school. As the mid-Atlantic nights become cooler and the days slightly shorter, I begin to dread winter. The good news is that as summer ends in the mid-Atlantic, there are still some things to do before the snow and cold hits.

Each year, one of the things I always look forward to is the National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville, Pennsylvania. I enjoy the apples and apple-related foods, the country setting, antique cars and tractors, bluegrass music, and the multitude of booths with interesting items for sale. Let me give you a peek at the National Apple Harvest Festival.

Image Credit: Dawn Rae -- All Rights Reserved

The National Apple Harvest Festival was started more than 48 years ago by the Adams County Fruitgrowers Association after having successfully run “Apple Blossom Sunday” since the early 1950’s. In 1961, the first “Apple Harvest Holiday” was held.

In 1975, the festival expanded to 2 weekends and continues to be held on the first 2 full weekends of October each year. The festival has only closed two times due to bad weather, and for only one day of the festival.

— excerpts from the National Apple Harvest Festival website

(all photos, with the exception of links, are by me and belong to me)

(all photos, with the exception of links, are by me and belong to me)


The National Apple Harvest Festival is held at the local fairgrounds in Arendtsville, PA. It is not terribly far from Ghettysburg, PA. The area is beautiful. The drive up from Baltimore feels a smidge long but the rolling hills, farming countryside, and historic landmarks are a wonderful distraction while passing the miles. One day we’ll take time to get out at some of the battlefield sites in Ghettysburg. But so far, every year, we drive up early, stay all day, and leave in the late afternoon. By then, I’m too sated to get out of the car and walk around and sightsee. Someday I will.

Why I love the apple festival: I guess I’m a country girl at heart, and living on the outskirts of Baltimore gets to me sometimes. I long for the grumble of farm machinery, the smell of wood smoke, and live bluegrass music. I also love the festival for the amazing food; much of it apple-based. However, there are plenty of other things to pig out on if you don’t care for apples. There is live entertainment in the forms of tractor square dances, native American Indian dance demonstration, and blue grass music. In addition, there are always a variety of other things to see.

A few of the things I've bought at National Apple Harvest Festival

But don't feel limited by my list. Almost everything imaginable is for sale. Hand-made jewelry, yard ornaments, birdhouses, toys. Art work, wine, and nice solid wood furniture. There is absolutely something for everyone.

  • Scrapple, Egg, and Cheese sandwich.
  • Stonefield Soaps goat milk soap.
  • Wild Bill Soda and Wild Bill Soda barrel (seems expensive, but the barrel has been my favorite mug for years)
  • Apples, Applesauce, Apple Butter, and Apple Cider.
  • Hand painted ceramic (or stoneware?) bowls.
  • Wool Ponchos (great for camping, evening bonfires on the beach, autumn hiking...)
  • Carmel Apples, Apple Pie, Elephant Ears, and Apple Dumplings.
  • Fried Oysters, BBQ sandwiches, and Sausage sandwiches.
  • Rubber band guns.
  • Wooden shingle.
(all photos, with the exception of links, are by me and belong to me)

(all photos, with the exception of links, are by me and belong to me)

My Tips and Advice.

Be prepared. Dress in layers if you go up early. Watch the weather forecast and be prepared. Usually the weather is fantastic, sunny and warm as the day progresses. But there have been some weekends that it rains. Wear comfy shoes. It’s a fairground setting, plenty of uneven ground.

Arrive early. We never have trouble parking, or waiting in long lines when we arrive. But by the time we leave, the lines are as long as some amusement park rides and the line of traffic coming in is a rolling stop and go for miles. Be patient if you come late (and remember, the local folks still have to cross the road to go about their lives; be a thoughtful tourist and don’t block intersections).

Bring some cash. Some vendors accept credit/debit cards. However, it’s easier to do cash and carry up at that very rural area. I have always found an ATM machine on the grounds but I prefer to bring cash.

Transportation and parking. Find the address and directions to the fairgrounds on their website As you come closer to the area, follow the signs. Park in the parking fields.. Enjoy the school bus ride shuttle from the parking fields to the fairgrounds. Remember what field you are in (there are plenty of signs at the field and on the buses) so you can be sure to board the correct bus when your feet are tired, your tummy is full, and you are already to nap instead of concentrate.

Things To See

(map from the  National Apple Harvest Festival Website)

(map from the National Apple Harvest Festival Website)

There are more than enough things to see here in a single day. Every year the HUGE car show grows larger. There is the old tractor show and diesel engines exhibit. Crafts. Crafts. And more crafts. Have you ever heard of scrapple? Before living in Maryland, I had never heard of scrapple. Now I love it. As soon as we arrive, we make a beeline for the scrapple sandwich stand next to the main gate. Yummy! You can see a vendor making scrapple.

Apples! - Let me know what you think about apple harvest festivals.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on July 28, 2014:

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Growing up near a cider mill in an apple-filled state (New York), I think apple harvest festivals are great. :-)

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on May 05, 2014:

I absolutely love harvest festivals! I have actually never attended an Apple harvest festival, but I know from what you have shown, that I would love it.

Campala on November 05, 2013:

Really enjoyed your lens, anything on cider?

tonyleather on October 29, 2013:

This definitely sounds like something I would very much enjoy!

Rob Hemphill from Ireland on October 21, 2013:

Looks like great fun. Would love to experience one especially listening to bluegrass music and watching tractor square dancing!

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 10, 2013:

@takkhisa: Thank you for your kind comments. It is a wonderful festival to visit.

Takkhis on October 09, 2013:

Hi, you have written a lens that makes me to visit the "Apple Harvest Festival" right now!!! I would surly love to visit it someday. Lovely lens! :)

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 08, 2013:

@yomikelaw: :) Thank you.

yomikelaw on October 07, 2013:

Sooooo gooooooodddd!!!!

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 04, 2013:

@emma_07: Thank you Emma. :)

emma_07 on October 04, 2013:

Nice lens !

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 04, 2013:

@sharadkgupta lm: Thank you for the comment. Apples are very good. :)

sharadkgupta lm on October 04, 2013:

I love apples so much.

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 03, 2013:

@ChocolateLily: The food is unbelievably delicious. I can't wait to go again this year.

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 03, 2013:

@smine27: I love them too. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on October 02, 2013:

I've never been to one either but this sure looks like fun! I love these kinds of festivals.

ChocolateLily on October 02, 2013:

I've never been to one, but they sound like fun. I bet the food is delicious!

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 02, 2013:

@ColettaTeske: Thank you for your kind comment and for stopping by.

ColettaTeske on October 02, 2013:

I grew up in Washington but never went to Apple Blossom Festival. This looks like so much fun. Great job!

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on October 01, 2013:

@Elsie Hagley: Thank you for you comment. It is a ton of fun. I look forward to it every year.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 01, 2013:

Nice autumn festival, looks like a lot of fun and who wouldn't like some nice crisp apples.It sound like the A&P show we have in Taranaki NZ, it a fair with lot's of animals and all the show equipment that children love ferris wheel etc.Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on September 29, 2013:

@mel-kav: It's a wonderful festival. Long drive from here, but wonderful.

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on September 29, 2013:

@mel-kav: PS. Thanks. I've considered bringing it to work on those frigid HVAC days. haha.

mel-kav on September 29, 2013:

PS - I love the poncho!

mel-kav on September 29, 2013:

I've never been to the apple harvest festival. It sounds like a lot of fun! Great lens. And I love your apple photo!!!

Dawn (author) from Maryland, USA on September 29, 2013:

@MarathonRunning: Me too! :) Thanks for visiting.

Martina from Croatia, Europe on September 29, 2013:

Love apples and everything that goes with them! :)

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