Saturday morning saw much of the area blanketed by autumn’s first frost. In the Village of Enon, it was countered by wood-burning fires heating copper kettles used to create the signature item for the 43rd annual Enon Apple Butter Festival.
Although the chill persisted upon opening, crowds bundled in warm-weather clothes, eager to shop a range of vendors, get a variety of foods and experience the fall season.
The two-day festival will resume 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in downtown Enon. Admission is free.
The Greenon High School band and choir led the opening ceremony, as the event came back to form following COVID precautions. The festival set a record with 135 vendors participating, up from an average of 120 according to organizers from the Enon Community Historical Society, which runs the event as a fundraiser.
A year ago, people were sweating in the warm weather and still wearing their summer clothes. Saturday’s temperatures befitted the event much better, said Tim DeVore, one of the longtime organizers.
“The weather is perfect, no bees,” he said. “It’s a nice crowd. People want to get out. We don’t have to have the six-foot spacing and back to normal.”
The cooler weather also helps the apple butter to cool down easier and when it’s hotter it takes more effort. The event goes on whether Mother Nature brings sunshine, rain or even snow.
The six kettles again saw no shortage of volunteers to help stir the apple butter to consistency. Some get their own rhythms, comparing it to swaying a baby or sometimes helped by the music on the PA system.
One youngster influenced by the Halloween season pondered if it could be witch’s brew. Brothers Connor and Kane Ely, ages 7 and 4 respectively, took a few strokes at stirring, flexing their muscles proudly at their strength before returning to their wagon.
“Sweet” was how Kane described the aroma, and Connor liked the apple scent.
The boys’ mom Melissa Ely grew up in Enon. This was also her first time stirring and she found herself surprised.
“I didn’t think it would be as thick as it is,” she said. “It’s a community thing. It brings everybody in the community together, a lot of us who hadn’t seen each other in a while.”
Visitors could spend energy shopping for many fall-themed items and other goods, then refresh themselves with numerous food and beverage choices. Organizers said they made sure no two food vendors specialized in the same items.
More than an hour before the first batches of apple butter were to be sold, a line formed. At the head of the line was Christie Harrod of Springfield, who confessed she wasn’t there for herself but for her mom who lives in Dayton and a neighbor.
“It’s what a nice person I am,” she said, laughing.
A frequent festival visitor, Harrod also grabbed some sweet tea and did some shopping. The tea helped make the wait a little easier, and the atmosphere also helped.
“I really like the community feel here,” she said.
By midday, the sun warmed up enough that the heavier layers came off and the effects of the cold left, while the scents of fall and apple butter were still in the air.
Apple butter will be available at approximately 12:30 p.m. for Sunday festival attendees. Free parking will also be available.
For more information, go to enonhistoricalsociety.com/apple-butter-festival/.