Apple Butter Festival a real good time for many

October 12, 1997


Staff Writer

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Cousins Mark Portrais and Brian Diehl may be just a couple of whippersnappers but they know where to go for a good time - the 24th annual Berkeley Springs Apple Butter Festival.

"I've been here every year of my life,'' said 11-year-old Brian, who lives in Forest City, N.C., but comes back to town for the festival each fall with his folks.

Thirteen-year-old Mark likewise finds himself drawn back to Berkeley Springs from Lancaster, S.C., about this time of year.

"Wouldn't miss it,'' Mark said, as the two sat on the curb outside a convenience store watching all the activities.

They saw the parade that wound through town early Saturday and launched the all-day festival centered around the time-honored tradition of boiling down tons of apples and adding a secret combination of spices to create the delicacy known as apple butter.


The crowds came early to sample the apple butter and other food delicacies.

There was a turtle race which moved about as fast as the traffic through town during most of the day.

Music was furnished by the Shenandoah Dixieland Jazz Band, the New Libery Bluegrass Band and the Critton Hollow String Band.

Games were sponsored here and there. Everywhere else, there was a yard sale or a craft exhibit. And there were games and magic exhibitions for the youngsters.

"I used to live here,'' said Lori Woodal, who now calls Needmore, Pa. home. "But I always come back for this.''

Attending the festivities with Lori was her son, Levi, 2, who enjoyed the parade but was clearly getting bored waiting for the next exciting event to begin.

Retirees Robert and Edlora McBride were camping in Falling Waters, W.Va., when they heard about the festival and came on over.

"We're from Florida - full-time campers now,'' Robert McBride said. "This is really enjoyable, this festival.''

The pair hit the road nine years ago, traveling the country to see the sights, McBride said.

Also first-timers at the festival were Jay and Carol Vine, who travel the country for another reason.

"We are SOWERS - Servants on Wheels Ever Ready, a group of full-time RVers who do maintenance work for churches,'' Jay Vine said.

As they travel around from their home base in Newark, N.Y., the Vines drop in on festivals and other events around the country.

"We are going to spend the day here because it looks like fun,'' Jay Vine said.

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