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Apple Festival begins Oct. 3

Rain or shine, the 37th Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, Amanda Delp, executive director of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce, said on Monday, Sept. 29.
“We believe this is going to be another great Apple Festival,” Delp said. “ The chamber staff and I are happy to welcome the thousands of residents and visitors who will arrive in Unicoi County this weekend. Once again, the festival will offer something for everyone.”
The festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, in downtown Erwin.
Again this year, the festival will offer a variety of entertainment for all tastes. The Johnson City Toyota, CrestPoint Health and Freewill Baptist Family Ministries gospel stage will feature numerous groups “praising the Lord in song,” Delp said.
“We have brought in two headliners – The Beelers and Freedom Quartet – this year to wrap up the performances on Friday and Saturday,” Delp said. “Both of these groups are nationally- renowned and we are happy to have them perform at the Apple Festival. They are great additions to our already strong gospel lineup.”
For the second year, the Commons Area stage, which is sponsored by Ambrosound, Bath Fitters, CenturyLink, Johnson City Federal Credit Union, Nuclear Fuel Services and Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, will showcase a variety of musical performers – from bluegrass to acoustic.
“Todd Ambrose has coordinated the Commons Area stage and has done a great job bringing a diverse lineup to the festival,” Delp said.
Delp said the Commons Area, which is located in the parking lot behind the Unicoi County Courthouse, will also offer a variety of vendors and a food court.
The festival’s third stage – the Gathering Place Park stage – will feature music and dancing. Also, contest winners will be announced from this stage, Delp said.
In addition to entertainment, the Apple Festival will once again offer a variety of vendors selling their wares.
“The craft festival, which features more than 350 vendors from around the country, will be lined along the downtown streets of Erwin showcasing their unique arts, crafts and foods,” Delp said.
Food will be available in abundance, according to Delp.
“There is going to be a smorgasbord of food,” she added. “ Bring your appetite and let it have a festival. You can enjoy everything from Chinese to Greek foods, traditional foods such as barbecue, homemade hamburgers and hot wings to apple pies and apple dumplings. For your convenience, three food courts, including tables and chairs, have been established.”
For the second consecutive year, CenturyLink will also be providing free wireless high speed internet for vendors and festivalgoers. Delp said the vendors will have access to a secure network if they choose to use it when conducting business.
“Many vendors used the wifi last year,” she added. “It proved to be a tremendous benefit to the vendors. We also had festival patrons using wifi offered by CenturyLink.”
For the 35th consecutive year, the Blue Ridge Pottery show and sale will be held at the Unicoi County Intermediate School.
“This is a must-see for Blue Ridge pottery collectors and admirers,” Delp said. “Rare pieces can often be found during the show.”
Delp also asked that vendors and visitors remember bicycles, skateboards and pets are not allowed on the festial grounds.
“This is for the safety of everyone who attends the festival,” she added.
Several parking areas around Exit 37 have been secured for festival attendees.
Locals are reminded that the downtown area will close to traffic at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2. The area will reopen to traffic by the morning of Sunday, Oct. 5, according to Delp.
For more information about the festival, contact the chamber at 743-3000.