Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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September 16, 2012

Crowds fill Nappanee to enjoy Apple Festival

NAPPANEE — Parking spots were few and far between in downtown Nappanee Saturday afternoon as scores of revelers packed the streets for day three of the 37th annual Nappanee Apple Festival.

Cars lined the side streets and alleyways of Nappanee for as far as the eye could see as people flocked to the city center to enjoy the festival that featured everything from crafts and carnival rides to music, talent shows and just about every kind of comfort food imaginable.

Sue Harman of Nappanee, a longtime festival attendee, said she has been for nearly four decades ago.

“I’ve been coming ever since it started, and I just love it,” Harman said while sifting through one of the many crates of crisp red and green apples dispersed throughout the city. “I like all the activities that go on, and of course I love all the apples.”

Harman said she can remember when the festival took up just a couple streets downtown — a far cry from the hundreds upon hundreds of festivalgoers who packed the streets Saturday afternoon.

“Oh yes, it spreads out much more than it used to,” Harman said. “I never expected it to get this big, but it seems to get bigger and bigger every year.”

And according to Harman, that’s just fine with her.

“I think it’s great, because it brings you out, and you get to see people that maybe you haven’t seen in a while,” Harman said. “So I keep talking about it and getting my family from other places to come here too. They just do a wonderful job.”

Mary Borbi of Michigan was quick to agree.

“We’re actually from Nappanee originally, so we come to the Apple Festival every year,” Borbi said while watching her son, Colin, enjoyed one of the many carnival rides available. “Every year it seems like it’s bigger and better, with more activities and offerings. And there are so many people here! The turnout is amazing.”

Like Harman, Borbi said she’s supportive of events such as the Apple Festival, which really help to show off what Nappanee has to offer.

“The festival really brings the community out, and I think it brings other people here to the community as well. It lets them see just how great it is here. So yeah, it’s a great thing for Nappanee.”

And with bright blue skies and temperatures hovering in the low 70s, festival information volunteer Jen Wise said the day probably couldn’t have turned out much better than it did.

“The weather has just been beautiful, so we’ve had a really good crowd today,” Wise said. “I honestly feel like it looks a little bigger than usual. I mean, there is no parking anywhere. I know myself, trying to get from the Depot down to here, it was like a 20 minute trek, just because there were so many people. But hey, that’s a great problem to have, and we love to see it.”

As with many festivals, Wise said it has always been the goal of the festival coordinators to try and outdo themselves with each consecutive year — a goal she said appears to have come through with flying colors this year.

“I think every year we have a goal to make it a little bigger and a little better,” Wise said, “and I think this year really came though. It’s just fantastic.”

The final day of the Apple Festival kicks off today at 9 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. For more information on the festival or to view a list of events, visit the festival website at www.nappaneeapplefestival.org.

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