As leaves and light change with the season, so do events. For the town of Warwick, this season marks the 32nd annual Applefest, an iconic fall festival making its long-awaited return after its three-year hiatus.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., thousands of visitors from across New York and surrounding states poured in and perused the numerous vendors and activities scattered throughout the town. Some started their day ordering food at one of the many booths offering a smorgasbord-like variety of hot and cold cuisines. Some standout picks included kettle corn, cider doughnuts, pickles served on sticks, chocolate-covered bacon, and the event’s oldest staple, apple butter.
“We get the apples donated from Apple Ridge Orchards, and then we spend a week to 10 days with crock pots. All the volunteers of the church come together and make the butter,” said Linda Garcia, a member of the Warwick Christ Church. Proceeds that the church makes from this go toward feeding hungry families in the community, including its free Saturday breakfasts.
The apple butter tradition dates back to over two decades ago when the rector’s wife wanted to share her family’s recipe. “It was from her great aunt. It’s very old, and she thought it would be wonderful for us as a community to share,” Garcia explained.
For those seeking mementos, Applefest offered over 200 craft vendors to choose from, selling jewelry, home decor, artwork, clothing, and even venus fly traps. One vendor, Blanket Boss, thought one season ahead and sold collection they dubbed Ugly Christmas Sweaters among other winter accessories.
“We do a lot of knit products; we do blankets, scarves. We also do embroidery,” said Alyssa Glenny, a member of Blanket Boss.
The company is based in Greenwood Lake and was founded in 2003 by Barney Lopilato, who originally came from Brooklyn and has worked in clothing manufacturing for 40 years.
“It started as sweater manufacturing, but sweater manufacturing has gone overseas now, so we started making blankets and sweaters. Y’know, the ugly Christmas sweaters,” Lopilato said. He mentioned that Applefest is the only event where Blanket Boss vends because “it attracts a lot of people.”
Several musicians and entertainers performed during the event, including the theater group Acting Out Playhouse, violinist E’lissa Jones, and the Warwick Center for Performing Arts. Children had abundant choices of activities, from face painting and pony riding to fun-sized carnival attractions. Amid all this was a farmer’s market and an apple pie baking contest, and the town’s welcoming businesses.
“It’s a family tradition every year,” said Jeff, 51, a Greenwood Lake resident who came out to “support the ma-and-pa type vendors.” His favorite part of the festival was “all the different foods and smells.”
“I like it. It has a lot of good food,” said Viggo Rashid, 11, a visitor from out of state who loves the carnival’s rollercoaster.
For those seeking mementos, Applefest offered over 200 craft vendors to choose from, selling jewelry, home decor, artwork, clothing, and even venus fly traps.