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W.Va. festival as American as apple ... butter

October 07, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - The 34th annual Apple Butter Festival this weekend highlights the tradition of cooking up apples and getting together as a family.

For instance, Stotler Apple Butter & More began making apple butter at 6 a.m. Saturday, Doris Stotler said.

"We enjoy it because it's a family business and gives us a chance to get together," she said.

The 50-gallon kettle will yield about 45 gallons of apple butter that will be sold by the end of the festival today, she said.

The Stotlers cook their apple butter in the same spot on Fairfax Street that began with Rebecca Stotler at the first Apple Butter Festival in 1973, Doris Stotler said.

Dane Stotler, a third-generation apple butter maker, was continuously stirring the kettle until his nephew, Cody Stotler, 15, took over.

Tommy Stotler said he and his wife, Sandy, who was busy selling jars of apple butter, peeled and sliced all of the apples, using a mechanical peeler and slicer.

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"It's a tradition," he said. "It's part of what we do."

Linda Buzzerd, Mary Jo Knight and Sylvia Hovermale are natives of Berkeley Springs, Buzzerd said, and every year, they meet in the same spot at Berkeley Springs State Park to enjoy the festival along with many family members.

"I come to the festival to eat," Buzzerd said. "I come for the ambiance."

Relatives make it a point to come to the Apple Butter Festival every year, Buzzerd said. "It's a big event for us," she said.

Kim Brown, Buzzerd's daughter, lives in New Hampshire with her family, and was not going to come to the festival this year. But when Buzzerd told her about the apple dumplings she was cooking, Brown got tickets to go to Berkeley Springs for the festival, she said.

"She had to pay more for her tickets," Buzzerd said.

Even the Saturday night festival dinner has become a tradition, Buzzerd said. For about the last 20 years, she has served homemade vegetable soup (with crabmeat if you prefer), sloppy Joes and baked apple dumplings.

"We grew up with the Apple Blossom Festival (in Winchester, Va.), and this generation grew up with the Apple Butter Festival," she said.

With the good weather this year, "at least 40,000" are expected to attend, festival spokesperson Jeanne Mozier said Saturday.

If you go

What: 34th annual Apple Butter Festival

When: Today, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Berkeley Springs State Park and surrounding vicinity, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

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