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Apple Festival promises more

The 33rd Annual Unicoi County Apple Festival will offer additional entertainment and extra events for the more than 100,000 festival-goers expected at this year’s event to be held Oct. 1-2.
Amanda Delp, Executive Director of the Chamber, said she expects around the same amount of people as last year’s record breaking crowd.
“Last year, we had 110,000,” she said. “This year, we’re expecting the same if we have good weather. The weather is always a huge factor in festival attendance.”
To prepare for this year’s expected attendance, Delp and other Chamber employees have worked tirelessly to provide additional attractions at this year’s event, including more music, more stages and more contests.
“We’ve taken some extra measures this year to provide additional activities,” Delp said. “Last year, we had two stages. We’re going to keep that and expand.”
In fact, the Gathering Place stage, which hosted performances by local bluegrass artists all day on Saturday during last year’s festival, will feature bluegrass all day on both Friday and Saturday at this year’s event. This year’s main event, The Spivey Mountain Boys, will hit the stage Friday night at 7:30.
In addition, Delp said the Children’s Stage will also feature all day entertainment, thanks to some help from Nuclear Fuel Services.
A new pageant will also be among the additions to this year’s festival offerings. For the first time, the festival will host the Senior Miss Pageant for ladies 65 and over.
“We are very excited to see the ladies compete in this category,” Delp said.
The Chamber will also sponsor this year’s Apple Dumplings Pageant. In years past the pageant has been sponsored by the Unicoi County High School Marching Band. This year, however, the band opted out of its sponsorship.
“The band chose not to coordinate the contest this year,” Delp said, “so we decided to take that on as a project rather than letting it fall to the wayside.”
Booths for this year’s festival have also increased and are just over 350 with an estimated 275-295 vendors. Delp said that the Chamber accessed some additional space, which enabled them to provide 20 extra booths.
Delp also announced that the Chamber plans to kick off the 33rd Annual Apple Festival with a golf tournament to be held the previous weekend.
Additional parking will also be available for this year’s event at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, a project which is expected to be completed in time for the event.