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It was a bushel of fun

Applefest offers a little bit of everything

Applefest offers a little bit of everything

October 22, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER/Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - For 13 years, Olga Buchanan has stood at Applefest and sold the sweet and gooey festival favorite - the Olympia Candy Kitchen Caramel Apples.

Standing guard over hundreds of the candied treats, all handmade at Olympia Candy Kitchen, she had no doubt that on Saturday, she would sell all 1,800 of them.

"Trust me," she said. "They'll sell."

Covered in caramel was just one of the many ways visitors could enjoy the apple at the 25th annual Applefest. Hosted by Chambersburg's Downtown Business Council, M&T Bank and Knouse Foods, the festival featured apple dumplings, candy apples, apple cider and apple pie.

Despite being the festival's namesake, the apple was hidden among hundreds of handmade crafts, the aroma of dozens of food vendors and the sounds of "Applefest Idol."

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Local vocalists rocked the core of the festival Saturday with diverse sounds. Each contestant vied for $500 and a chance to sing the national anthem at the Hagerstown Suns season-opening game. Vocalists sang gospel, pop, country, rhythm and blues, and even Native American songs in ancient Sanskrit.

From 56-year-old Rob Wheeler, who sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in memory of his father, to Mauree Smith, 22, who put her eight years of vocal training to the test singing "A Moment Like This," the thousands gathered at center square cheered for the contestants.

Rosalie Lidard of the Downtown Business Council said the contest was added this year to celebrate the festival's 25th anniversary.

Lidard said "Applefest Idol" was the idea of the Applefest committee. While committee members were anxious to see how the crowd would receive the contest, none would say for certain whether "Applefest Idol" would be a new tradition.

"We will wait and make a decision about next year after we see how this was received," committee member Vickie Pensinger said.

The competition appeared to be well-received by visitors, who cheered when master of ceremonies Kevin Curtis asked if there should be "Applefest Idol II."

While some came to hear their friends compete in the singing competition, others came for the crafts.

"I just love the crafts," said Marcia McDannell of Chambersburg.

"I come every year for the crafts," said Marie Ortiz of Chambersburg.

McDannell, Ortiz and close to 10,000 others on Saturday were able to enjoy three blocks of craft vendors selling everything from rugs to beer-bottle wind chimes.

All proceeds from Applefest benefit the programs of the Downtown Business Council.

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