The National Apple Harvest Festival in Arendtsville PA is my favorite fall festival, favored even over my own town’s Farmer’s Fair, if not by much. I like that the fairground is at the foot of the South Mountains, the grounds are nestled against the mountain. No macadam or blacktop is seen anywhere, and tall mature pine trees cover much of the site.Even when the fair is crowded, as it always is, walking among the pines feels peaceful. The buildings at the fairgrounds are old, too, so I feel as though I am entering another time when I’m there. They are wooden, some clapboard, most from the 40’s and 50’s, the most recent from the 1960’s.
And of course the fair itself boasts that great fair food, with everything from soft pretzels to apple bread to the ubiquitous chicken barbeque and pit beef, cooked outside and with the smell of wood smoke and cooking meat all around.
For me, the fair is usually my first attempt at Christmas shopping for the season. I always find something for someone or several someones. This year was no exception.After a rainy Saturday, Sunday dawned perfectly clear. The early morning was in the 30’s, but the temperature warmed up quickly, bringing with it hordes of fairgoers from several states. I make it a habit to go early and do my wandering and shopping. Then I eat an early lunch and leave before the crowd worsens. This year, the crowd on Sunday was even greater than usual because many people, myself included, waited out the rainy weather of the day before. Crowds or no, I try to attend this festival every year.