Thirty years ago, in the midst of Hurricane Hugo, Applefest was born. That year Main St. was closed off, and the event was primarily antique dealers and apple related food and activities. I still remember the valiant vendors, high winds, rain, flying objects – the first Applefest was over by 1 p.m.
Fast track 29 years, and the rest is history. Applefest has become a premier event in the Hudson Valley, attracting up to 40,000 folks from the Tri-State and Metropolitan area. The eastern part of the Village becomes ground zero for all things Applefest, but it has a ripple effect on the entire community.
Whatever inconvenience this one day may bring, the positive results are countless. The most important is the fiscal infusion to our local Chamber, Community Center, businesses, restaurants, crafts people and especially our civic and non-profit organizations. In some cases, these organizations achieve their treasury goals for the entire year. The funding helps directly affect our community in the form of programs, and scholarships.
This is truly a celebration of the Warwick Valley, its agricultural heritage and future. That said, maybe Applefest is an opportunity to educate our visitors on the great strides and pioneering effort that Warwick has made towards protecting farmland? Being on the home team, means we have the opportunity to enjoy the event before the crowds arrive. That’s something Warwickian’s love to take advantage of!
Congratulations to the Warwick Chamber of Commerce and the Warwick Community Center, for bringing us a remarkable event for 30 years and counting!
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, has been published in the Oct. 10 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.