Apple growers unravel their tents for the North Carolina Apple Festival

The crowd lines up for apple themed treats at the 2012 Henderson County Apple Festival. Photo by Andrew Hill.

Over Labor Day weekend, the mouthwatering aromas of apple turnovers, apple cider, candied apples, caramel apples, apple fritters, apple butter, funnel cakes and many other festival foods will be floating down Main Street Hendersonville, North Carolina, pulling willing customers to the vendors that sell them for the annual North Carolina  Apple Festival in Henderson County.

From August 30 to September 2, locals and out-of-towners alike pile onto Main Street for apple themed desserts, arts and crafts and free entertainment provided in front of the Historic Downtown Court House. Apple growers from across the county gather their bushels and head to Main Street to sell their goods.

Western Carolina University senior Sarah Keith has worked Apple Festival weekend at Mast General Store on Main Street for the past five years.

“We get a lot of tourists from Florida and, of course, people from South Carolina come up for the weekend. The Apple Festival is our biggest money making event of the whole year, even bigger than Black Friday and Christmas. The sales this weekend will be located at tents set up on the sidewalk and in the store.”

Keith not only works the Apple Festival, but enjoys the festival itself. “My favorite things about the Apple Festival are the apple cider slushies and the caramel apples from Kilwins.” Her dad, a musician that works at Tempo Music on Main Street, played his first gig at the Apple Festival forty years ago.

Labor Day weekend is a popular time to be in Hendersonville. “It has been Western North Carolina’s Premier Family Festival for over 60 years,” as the NC Apple Festival website boasts. “North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County grows 65 percent of all apples in North Carolina.”

The Apple Festival is a celebration of family, fun, food, fresh apples and fantastic art. Hendersonville is approximately one hour and 15 minutes from Cullowhee and welcomes visitors from all over the country to help celebrate apple growers and their impact on the community. Come pick up a bushel of fresh apples, enjoy some music and crafts, and support local farmers in the process.