Family fun and fabulous food at Hay Creek apple festival

Historic Joanna Furnace begins its celebration of the fall harvest season on Saturday, Oct. 13. For more than 30 years, the ever-popular Hay Creek Apple Festival has been a family tradition.

Visitors of all ages are drawn to those great traditional foods, seasonal hands-on crafts for kids, the historic iron-making complex, flea market and much more. The crisp fall air and the crackle of leaves underfoot set the mood for this traditional tribute to the fall season and the delicious culinary delights based on the lowly apple.

With its savory variety of apple foods and apple specialties, the Hay Creek Apple Festival is one of the best places in the region to experience the many traditional ways apples can be prepared. Visitors can savor a variety of apple foods and apple specialties, eating on site or taking the food home.

The event day will open with the traditional Hay Creek Apple Pancake Breakfast served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The traditional Apple Festival menu includes such favorites as apple fritters and warmed spiced apples with vanilla ice cream, apple dumplings, apple pies, apple crisp, schnitz-un-knepp, apple sausage sandwiches, candy apples, hot mulled cider and fresh pressed cider. Other menu items include Homemade Kettle Soup, chicken potpie, hamburgers and hot dogs, French friesand beverages.

In early Joanna Furnace days, apples were an important food source all year long. Many varieties could keep for months. Children of the early families had the important job of checking the apples stored in barrels in the root cellar, making sure that “one bad apple” did not “spoil the bunch.”

The annual apple-baking contest will take place on festival day. The Apple Dessert Contest is open to all those have that special old traditional recipe which was handed down over the years, or to those who love to create their own special desserts. People entering the contest should bring their entries: pies, cakes breads and muffins, desserts or Heritage Recipes to the Festival Food Court area between 8 and 9 a.m. A copy of the recipe must be included with the entry. Bakers interested in entering a favorite recipe should see details on the website for categories, rules and prize amounts.

The Annual Hay Creek Flea Market will be open at 7 a.m. Anyone looking to participate with a flea market stand should call 610-286-9152 for details and site reservations.

Numerous family activities will round out this year’s festival, including scarecrow building, pumpkin painting, early American games plus hay and pony rides. Children will especially love a ride on the popular Apple Barrel Express. Visitors can purchase ‘scarecrow kits.’ Kits will include the “t” form, pants, shirt, head, string and accessories. As each scarecrow will have its own personality, each kit will contain details including bandana or belt, hat and tie and a small amount of straw to stick out of the hands and feet.

Additional activities include a Petting Zoo, antique washing machine display, working archaeologists at the Wheelwright Shop, exhibits in the Mechanical Technology Building. Visitors will be able to enjoy the early stages of the Charcoal House Museum reconfiguration.

According to Mark Zerr, site Executive Director, “Someone once told me that when they visit the Hay Creek Apple Festival, since many of our recipes are traditional and old-time, they feel like they haven’t eaten in 200 years! And beyond that, this event has it all – a full menu of some of the best apple foods available in the area, Historic Joanna Furnace with the restored buildings open and ready to explore, a flea market, all kinds of things for kids and families to enjoy, and the opportunity to spend quality family time in the 19th century. What better way is there to spend a fall afternoon? Plus, admission is free!”

The Hay Creek Apple Festival at Historic Joanna Furnace will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rain date is Oct. 14. The Festival site is at Historic Joanna Furnace off Route 10, three miles north of Morgantown. Turn on Furnace Road. Admission to the Festival is free. Parking is on site with a parking donation. For more information visit www.haycreek.org or call 610-286-0388.

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