Wednesday, March 12, 2014
BY JOHN HALE Correspondent
MONMOUTH -- Saturday's annual celebration of apples and apple pies will benefit the historic Monmouth Museum.
More than 100 homemade apple pies will be for sale, either as entire pies or as slices. The slices can be topped with either ice cream or cheese for no extra cost.
Linda Verrill, the pie slicer, gives out very generous slices, said Shelia Sanford, postmaster in North Monmouth and president of the Monmouth Museum, which is on Main Street.
The museum consists of several old buildings packed with antiques arranged in the pattern of a small 19th century village.
Applefest started in 1988 and has happened every year since then. Last year, more than 1,000 people came to AppleFest and the festival raised more than $2,000, which goes mostly for insurance for the museum's buildings and antiques, Sanford said.
"It costs quite a lot of money just to keep that museum standing there," Sanford said. "We don't have any money except what we scrape together ourselves."
Sanford said AppleFest brings the community together.
"At this time of year, everybody's kind of calmed down from the summer. The children are back in school and it's just the right time for a festival like this," he said.
There are no admission fees at AppleFest, but rides in an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon owned by Luther Gray will cost $2 for adults. The wagon rides will start and end at the museum's blacksmith shop on Maple Street, just off Main Street.
Dozens of women, and a few men, bake the apple pies that make the festival such a treat. The pies are for sale at the museum's country store, directly across the street from the main part of the museum.
Ann Raymond, who has been affiliated with the festival for many years, said the pie bakers are very picky.
"A lot of them will only use Cortlands while a lot of others will only use Macs. And then some of them will use a mix of the two kinds of apples," she said.
Local orchards donate the apples to be baked for the festival.
"A lot of the ladies are older and on Social Security and they appreciate having the apples for free," Raymond said. She said the festival uses about 130 apple pies, sometimes more.
Raymond said the festival gives out aluminum pie plates for the pies that are to be sold whole and taken home, and also cardboard boxes for those pies.
The standard pies are 9 to 10 inches across, but they're baked using many different recipes.
Anyone can donate a pie to the festival, they just need to bring it to the museum's country store, which opens at 7 a.m. Saturday.
The town used to be well-known for its apple orchards. The amount of land used in the production of apples has declined in recent years, but there still are several orchards operating in town.
Audrey Walker, chairwoman of the Monmouth AppleFest Committee and part of the original group that started the festival in 1988, said here will be a special children's tent where scarecrow-building will take place. In the afternoon, judging will decide which scarecrows are to be crowned King and Queen Scarecrow.
"It's a great family event," Walker said. "That's what I like about it. Even older community members come out. It's all coming together."
Saturday, 9-3 p.m.
Monmouth Museum, 751 Main St.