NAPPANEE — Visitors to this year’s Nappanee Apple Festival will see some changes, as well as being treated to familiar favorites.
Nappanee Apple Festival Director Donna Persing shared what she’s most excited about for this year.
“Our ‘Wow factor’ Loop Rawlins — that should be quite a show,” she said. “Kids and adults alike will both enjoy the show and he’ll likely bring in a good audience at the library parking lot.”
The Wild West performer does trick roping and more and was a finalist on America’s Got Talent.
Persing was also excited about the new amusement ride company that will be providing rides this year — North American Midway.
“This is the same ride company that they have at the (Plymouth) Blueberry Festival and the Elkhart County Fair,” she said. “We contracted with them at the fair and will have them for the next couple of years.”
One of several advantages to the new company is that they’ll have more rides for younger children in the 2- to 6-year-old age range.
“It’s more family-friendly, too,” Donna said.
For the first time there’ll be a hot air balloon launch from 5-6 p.m. Friday at the Power from the Past show grounds behind Amish Acres.
Power from the Past will also be the location for the tractor and truck pull as well as the antique garden tractor pull.
“There’ll be nothing at the Callander Sportsplex this year,” Persing said. “All those events are being moved to the Power from the Past grounds.”
SHUTTLE STOP MOVED
Persing said they moved the shuttle stop a block and a half west on U.S. 6 to the Chamber of Commerce parking lot so they can run the shuttle the entire morning.
“The shuttle will run between the chamber and Amish Acres when the street is closed (during the 5K and parade). We’re encouraging festival attendees to park at Amish Acres.”
The 5K route has changed. It will be starting at Eastlake Fitness Center, 1530 E Market St., and end uptown.
“This saves having to have extra officers,” Persing said. “All the runners will go when the roads are already closed as they’ll run ahead of the parade.”
Persing has been a member of the Apple Festival Committee in some way since about 1985 and this is her fourth year as festival director. Her co-director this year is David Helmuth. She encourages people to come out to the festival and “have a great time, meet up with friends and have a slice of 7-foot apple pie,” she said.