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Johnny Appleseed Festival

Submitted by on August 19, 2018 – 8:57 amNo Comment

Johnny Appleseed Festival, Fort Wayne, IndianaThe Johnny Appleseed Festival, set for September 15 and 16, 2018, in Archer Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is more than just a celebration of apples (although it is that). Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 15, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. September 16.

The festival, now in its 44th year, is a step back in history, to the early decades of the United States when European immigrants to the seaboard states and their descendants began to move west. The apple orchard marched west with these pioneers — and sometimes preceded them. The man popularly known as Johnny Appleseed is one of the reasons. He planted apple trees as he traveled through what’s now West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

Apples were essential to the early settlers, not only as food but as beverage. Drinking water from local streams and lakes was risky but imbibing distilled cider from apples, not so much.

Fort Wayne claims Johnny as their own (he’s said to be buried there, and you can visit the grave in Johnny Appleseed Park). The festival in his name brings his era — he lived from 1774 to 1845 — into focus. You’ll find food typical of the period, plus demonstrations of pioneer crafts, and re-enactors portraying traders, storytellers, candle makers and other staples of early 19th century life.

The Johnny Appleseed Festival, begun in 1974, has stringent requirements for its vendors: “Cooking must be done over an open fire, without the use of propane gas. Vendors are required to dress in 1800s period dress, sell products, demonstrate trades, entertain and provide food potentially available within the 1800s.”

Crafters offer items handmade from materials available in the wilderness areas where Johnny wandered sowing his apple seeds. Modern collectibles are NOT among the offerings in the area with some two dozen juried vendors offering a variety of antiques and primitives.

Stepping beyond the early 1800s time frame, there’s a military encampment hosted by the 44th Indiana Civil War Historical Association. Most of the unit portrays the standard western infantry soldier during the Civil War, with specific emphasis placed on the 44th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Needless to say, Road Trips Foodies, you’ll find apple dumplings, caramel apples, fried apples rolled in cinnamon sugar, apple pie, and plenty of cider. Everything comes with a “side of history”, making this apple fest unique.

For more information on the Fort Wayne area, go online.

(Photo courtesy of Johnny Appleseed Festival)

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