STORY WRITTEN BY TERESA BOECKEL
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This year marks the 60th anniversary for the Apple Blossom Festival, and to celebrate the milestone, a new 6K run/walk will be offered through the scenic orchards in Adams County.
“We thought a run through the fruit belt would be beautiful,” said Katy Clowney, a previous board member of the Adams County Fruit Growers Association.
The festival hosted at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in Biglerville, Pa. offers events for the whole family, including kiddie tractor pulls, petting zoos, bands, antique car and Corvette shows, wine and hard cider tasting and sales.
The Apple Blossom Festival is older and smaller than The National Apple Harvest Festival, which is held in the fall. The spring event is more of a local fair for children, coordinator Brenda Cressler said.
Organizers were hoping for warm days this week, Clowney said. It’s not always a guarantee, but the blossoms might bloom just in time for the festival this year.
Here are three features at the event worth checking out:
6K Apple Blossom Run/Walk: Runners and walkers will enjoy the beautiful vistas along the nearly 4-mile route, Clowney said. It starts at the fairgrounds at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Participants will trek past a greenhouse, through the apple orchards and on the tree-lined road, according to a description of the route on Active.com. The trek includes a challenging ascent to the top of a hill, the description states.
“It’s a beautiful view,” Clowney said of the view.
The top male and the top female winners will each receive a two-night stay at Quaker Valley Guest House in Biglerville, the description says. Other prizes will be handed out.
The run/walk benefits the Adams County Fruit Growers Association.
Farming attractions: Fair-goers can see how farming was done years ago with antique tractors and gas engines that will be on display. The tractors on display often range from the 1920s to the 1960s, and while they’re getting old, they still run, said Eugene Clabaugh, president of the South Mountain Antique Engine Association.
The old gas hit and miss engines on display often date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. They are often attached by a belt to a machine that shells or grinds corn. These engines could be used for a variety of tasks, such as pumping water or sawing wood.
“They still do the job,” Clabaugh said.
It’s interesting for fair-goers who have never seen that sort of thing, he said.
Other events that revolve around farming for children include petting zoos and a tractor pulling contest. The contest involves children riding a little pedal tractor and seeing who can pull the most weight, Cressler said.
“They really love that,” she said.
Pennsylvania Apple Queen competition: The coronation of the Pennsylvania Apple Queen on Sunday draws quite a crowd, said Sandy Kime, Pennsylvania Apple Queen coordinator. After all, that’s been a feature of the festival since it started decades ago. People would come out on a Sunday to enjoy a dessert sampler and watch the crowning of the Pennsylvania Apple Queen.
Seven teenagers will be competing this year, Kime said. As part of the judging, they will be interviewed privately and face an on-stage competition at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the auditorium. The contestants also will mingle with the crowd.
The contestants are expected to learn about the apple industry. They will be asked questions, such as what the difference is between apple juice and apple cider and which variety of apples are best for eating or baking.
The winner will attend festivals, fairs and schools and be expected to be able to answer the kind of questions that the public typically has, Kime said. The student receives a $1,000 scholarship at the end of the rein.
The crowning of the 2015 Pennsylvania Apple Queen will be at 2:30 in the auditorium. This will be the 62nd queen to be crowned. The robe from the original queen has been passed down through the years.
The current reining queen is Kayla Silko, a junior at Fairfield High School.
Did you know?
The Adams County Fruit Growers Association started both the Apple Blossom Festival and The National Apple Harvest Festival. However, it became too hard to do both. So, the Upper Adams Jaycees took over decades ago, said Brenda Cressler, coordinator for the Apple Blossom Festival.
The fall event is scheduled for Oct. 3, 4, 10 and 11 this year.