What started decades ago as a small festival with only ten vendors has grown to a massive two-day event with over 350 vendors and estimated crowds of over 100,000 gathering to join in the festivities.
“It’s obviously our biggest event here in the community. People come in from all over the country,” said Amanda Delp, executive director of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce and organizer of the event.
Vendors will sell apples in every way imaginable from whole apples themselves to apple butters and jams to fried apple pies served with vanilla ice cream.
Long-time traditions include the crowning of a Miss Apple Festival, an Apple Cooking Contest, and the Apple festival four-mile footrace and two-mile walk race.
In addition to an exciting festival filled with food, music and activities, the Apple Festival has a huge impact on the local economy of Unicoi County.
“People are coming from all over to this event. they’re spending coming here in this community they’re staying in hotels, they’re eating in the restaurants they’re shopping with the vendors, the vendors are paying sales tax which comes right back into the county,” said Delp.
This year, crowd favorites like the children’s area, Miss Apple Festival Pageant, Apple Cooking Contest, Blue Ridge Pottery Show and sale and more.
One difference festival goers will notice is the new location of the main stage.
“We have moved that over to tucker street it will be a much larger area where i think folks can really enjoy the music and it’ll give more of a concert atmosphere,” said Delp.
Some of the musical acts on the Tucker Street Stage include Broadstreet Station, Hall, 7 Mile Mushroom and Hip Gypsy.
The Unicoi County Apple Festival is open tot he public and free to attend. It spans a five-block section of downtown Erwin. Festival organizers ask that pets are left at home and not brought to the festival. Bicycles and skateboards are also not allowed.
For more information, call teh Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce at 423-743-3000, visit the website at www.unicoicounty.org or stop by the Chamber office at 100 South Main Ave.