By ANGELA FARR KING
Saturday, October 21, was the perfect day for the 33rd Annual Taylorsville Apple Festival. The weather was sunny and cool, just right for walking through Taylorsville and seeing all of the vendors and their wares.
There were handmade wooden crafts, including custom built furniture, lots of clothing for adults and children, jewelry, toys, pottery, home decor, and of course, bags of fresh apples from local orchards.
The “Kids’ Korner” of the Apple Festival grows every year and it was hopping! There were at least 20 inflatables for jumping and sliding provided by Sugar Peas. Cyberbuzz Entertainment provided ax throwing, laser tag, a portable zip line, and a virtual escape room. There was face painting, a petting zoo, and pony rides. The Future Farmers of America from Alexander Central High School provided a hay ride and Redsuit Railroad provided a mini train ride that ran throughout the main street of the festival and into the Kids’ Korner. There were Hawaiian Ice treats and ice cream and even a Pokemon store.
There were three main stages where entertainment could be enjoyed throughout the day. There was a gospel stage at the end of the festival street, where praise and worship could be enjoyed throughout the day. The Rotary Performance Stage in the Courthouse Park was rocking all day with popular musical favorites from days gone by, as well as some current songs. A Little Miss and Teen Miss North Carolina Pageant was held at 10 a.m. on the Kids’ Stage. Milyn Walden, age 13, was crowned Junior Miss North Carolina and Iris Cavender, age 9, was crowned Little Miss & Teen Miss North Carolina. Throughout the day, there were dancers, cheerleaders, and singers performing on the Kids’ Stage. It was a great place to showcase the wonderful talents of the children of Alexander County.
Many people said they come to the Taylorsville Apple Festival for the food. There are some traditional favorites that people line up for, including the egg rolls made by the Unity Hmong Baptist Church and the fried apple pies made by the Church of God in Hiddenite. Those lines literally wrapped around buildings and some people waited over an hour for these sought after treats. There was homemade lemonade, kettle corn, roasted corn on the cob on a stick, homemade doughnuts, barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, and some delicious authentic Mexican food provided by Rio Poderoso Church of God in Hickory.
The folks at Kylie’s Sugar Shop, located at 130 Main Avenue, had been preparing for this day for quite some time. Their giant, hand-dipped apples were a huge hit and they sold out of everything in the shop by 4:00 p.m. This festival certainly helps to boost the business for local shops like this one. The tastes and aromas of delicious food are part of the wonderful experience each year at the Taylorsville Apple Festival.
One of the best parts of the day was seeing so many families out enjoying themselves together. Many of them had their pets with them as well, who seemed to be enjoying walking in the sunshine. Children were laughing and adults were connecting with friends they maybe don’t see as often as they’d like. In a small town like Taylorsville, many people know each other through families, school, work, church, or the ball field and the fellowship for the community in this festive setting was something special to see.
Organizing this festival must be an enormous effort, but likely worth it to see all of the smiles on the faces of people from Taylorsville and from visitors who traveled from other towns.
Marty Hughes and her daughter, Lauren, enjoyed ice cream from the Mason’s Sweet Shoppe truck. Marty said this was their first time at the Taylorsville Apple Festival, but they had visited the Taylorsville Apple Blossom Festival in the Spring. They currently live in Hickory, but have recently bought property near Wilkesboro. She said they love coming to Taylorsville because “there is always something to do here.” Leaders and event organizers put together a festival that attracted thousands of visitors and helped “home folks” to reconnect.