Apple Butter Festival features plenty for all

October 10, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

Ever since the first Apple Butter Festival spread over downtown Berkeley Springs in 1974, one of its more popular events has been the turtle race.

It's been so popular, according to a press release promoting this weekend's Apple Butter Festival, that "families traveling to the festival have been known to stop by the side of the road to pick up a turtle for the race ..."

Local and out-of-state turtles can be entered in the competition, which gets under way Saturday at 11 a.m. in front of the Morgan County Courthouse. The race is sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club.


The annual parade, long a festival tradition, begins at 9 a.m. at Berkeley Springs High School. The parade will proceed north through the square and end at the old train station on Williams Street. The parade is organized by the Berkeley Springs Jaycees.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey will be this year's parade marshal. McCaffrey commanded the 24th Infantry Division during Desert Storm. When he retired, McCaffrey was the most highly decorated four-star general in the Army, according to a festival press release.

McCaffrey is the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security at the U.S. Military Academy and president of his own consulting firm in Alexandria, Va.

Thousands of patrons come to the festival to enjoy the sweet, tangy apple butter made over open fires in big copper kettles during the two-day event.

This year patrons will enjoy music from bluegrass to Dixieland jazz to the Berkeley Springs Community Choir. The farmers market will offer fresh apple cider, local produce and home preserves.

More than 100 contemporary and traditional artists and crafters will be selling in the streets, in local shops and in the Ice House.

The festival closes at 5 p.m. Saturday and reopens Sunday at noon. Activities Sunday include an egg toss, an amateur hog calling contest and drawing for the apple butter quilt.

The festival ends at 5 p.m. Sunday.

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