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Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival begins today in W.Va.

October 18, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 28th annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival, which starts today, will offer visitors a variety of entertainment and several opportunities to meet its stars.

Both the apples and the celebrities.

The parade on Saturday afternoon will be led by three celebrity grand marshals: "All My Children" actors Chrishell Stause, who plays Amanda Dillon, and Colin Egglesfield, who plays Josh Madden, and former Washington Redskin Dexter Manley.

In recent years, with good weather, the parade has drawn 20,000 to 22,000 spectators to downtown Martinsburg, said Ed Wilson, festival president.

Some of the four-day festival's activities take place at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds and many are free. Other events take place at various venues in the Eastern Panhandle.

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In addition to being at the parade, the three celebrities will be at Saturday morning's celebrity sports breakfast and Sunday afternoon's presentation of the festival queen and her court, with photo and autograph opportunities at both events, Wilson said.

Fans also are expected to have a chance to dance with Stause or Egglesfield, as well as pose for pictures with and get autographs from, during Saturday night's Soroptimist Grand Ball at Heritage Hall in Inwood, Wilson said.

While the celebrities are a big draw, the festival's roots stem from the apples.

During the heyday of apple production in the Eastern Panhandle, around 1915 to 1919, apple producers sponsored an Apple Carnival with a queen and a king, Wilson said.

The carnival was put on hold in the late 1920s, probably due to the Depression, and brought back to life as the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in 1980 by businesspeople who wanted an event to draw the community together, Wilson said.

The festival features several apple events, including contests for the best apple pie/dessert, best plate of apples, most artistic apple arrangements, apple variety identification, apple eating and apple peeling.

The average winning peel, which must be the longest continuous peel, has been 21 to 23 feet long, Wilson said.

Other big draws are the Martinsburg Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast and the arts and crafts show, both of which occur Saturday and Sunday.

The arts and crafts show is expected to feature about 122 vendors from nine states, Wilson said.

The breakfast, with freshly made pancakes, feeds 600 to 700 people each day, he said.

For more information about the festival, call 304-263-2500 or go to www.msahf.com.

Schedule highlights



Tonight:

· The Royal Gala at Charles Town Races & Slots. To check for ticket availability, call Mary Ruth Miller, 304-268-0423. Tickets cost $30 for an individual, $50 for a couple.

On Friday, Oct. 19:

· 6 p.m. - Coronation of Queen Pomona XXVIII, Martinsburg High School senior Tara Petrucci, at Apollo Civic Theatre. The queen's court and their escorts from Valley Forge Academy Honor Guard make their first appearance. Free and open to the public.

· 6:30 to 8 p.m. - Queen's Reception at Historic Shenandoah Hotel, corner of West Martin and North Queen streets. Admission is $7 and must be bought in advance.

· 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. - Friday Night in the Park dance with rock and pop music by Cazhmiere; food vendors. War Memorial Park. Free and open to the public.

· 9:15 p.m. - Fireworks at the park. Free.

On Saturday, Oct. 20:

· After 9:30 a.m., admission to the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds is $3; free for ages 6 and younger.

· 7 a.m. to noon - Pancake breakfast, Fairgrounds dining hall. $5, advance; $6, at the door; free for ages 6 and younger.

· 8:30 a.m. - Bob Elmer Celebrity Sports Breakfast with former Washington Redskin Dexter Manley and "All My Children" actors Chrishell Stause and Colin Egglesfield. $15; advance tickets recommended.

· 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Arts and crafts show at fairgrounds with food vendors and live entertainment.

· Noon - 5K Apple Trample starts at Dorothy McCormack Center at City Hospital. $15 entry fee on day of race.

· 1 p.m. - Parade with Manley, Stause and Egglesfield leading marching bands, floats, firetrucks, horses and more. Starts on West King Street near Louisiana Avenue. Goes left on South Raleigh Street, right on West Burke Street and right on South Queen Street.

· 7 to 11 p.m. - Panhandlers Square Dance with queen's court and escorts. Eagle School Intermediate gym. $7, advance; $8, at the door. Call Darla Miller, 304-267-2504.

· 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. - Grand Ball with music by Rick K. and the Allnighters, and Ted & Tom. Heritage Hall, U.S. 11 south, Inwood. $30 per person; advance tickets recommended. To purchase tickets, stop by Panhandle Gift and Floral, 615 W. King St., Martinsburg.

On Sunday, Oct. 21:

· After 9:30 a.m., admission to the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds is $3; free for ages 6 and younger.

· 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Pancake breakfast, fairgrounds dining hall. $5, advance; $6, at the door; free for ages 6 and younger.

· 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Arts and crafts show at fairgrounds. Food vendors on hand.

· 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Antique vehicle show, fairgrounds. $5, to show vehicle.

· Noon - Presentation of colors, national anthem and queen and her court with escorts. Photo and autograph opportunities with Manley, Stause and Egglesfield from at least noon to 2 p.m. After the queen's presentation, show choirs from the four local Panhandle high schools will perform at the fairgrounds.

A complete schedule can be found at www.msahf.com.

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