Also on Friday, the Tri-State Community Health Center will hold a Wellness Fair from 2 to 6 p.m. at 130 W. High St.
Apples - courtesy of Hepburn Orchards - and other healthful snacks will be given away by the health center throughout the weekend, along with 400 T-shirts.
On Saturday, Sept. 18, the traditional two-day festival begins with the grand parade at 11 a.m. heading west through Hancock to Widmeyer Park. Prizes of approximately $2,500 will be awarded, Shives said.
"Even with the rainy weather last year, the Hancock Police Department estimated the crowd at 8,500," he said.
There was some worry last year that rain would dampen the parade, but it proceeded without a hitch.
The park also will be the center where arts and crafts and food vendors will be set up.
"This year, we have a vendor who will be making and selling fresh crab cake sandwiches at a reasonable price," Shives said. Open pit beef will be back this year, he said.
An old-time cider press will be in operation at the park.
St. Peter's Catholic Church is making and selling apple dumplings while the Piney Plains United Methodist Church is planning a baked goods sale.
"New this year is a baby-changing station set up by the Hancock Presbyterian Church," Shives said. He said he hopes that will encourage more families with young children to come to the festival.
Fossil and Company will provide entertainment at the park from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Georgia Lea and Stone Cold Country will be on stage.
On Saturday only, the National Park Service will have a tent at the park where old-fashioned activities will be conducted, according to Ranger Lynn Barrett.
"Our plans are to have a lemonade stand where visitors can make their own cups out of cardboard like they used to do in the old days," Barrett said. The lemonade will cost 5 cents.
Also in the works are a muleshoe toss, baseball pitch and some old toys and games, possibly an apple bob.
On Sunday, Sept. 19, Canal Apple Days at the park will resume at noon with food, crafts and some additions.
At 12:30 p.m., registration will begin for the baby contest. Judging will be at 1:30 p.m.
Fossil and Company will be entertaining Sunday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Antique and classic cars will be on display at the park from 1 to 5 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, visitors will be encouraged to take advantage of the C&O Canal Visitors Center and the canal itself, Rails to Trails, the Hancock Historical Museum, the VFW Veterans Memorial and a number of historic churches in the area.
For more than 50 years, the Hancock Lions Club has served the Tri-State area with a food bank program, vision research, scholarships for local students, a community Christmas dinner and hospital equipment for area residents in need.
Members meet every second and fourth Monday of the month at the Park-N-Dine Restaurant, beginning at 7 p.m.