The Senior Quilters at the Groveport Senior Center worked about eight months to create this "nine patch" quilt that will be raffled off on Apple Butter Day, Oct. 13, in Groveport. Raffle tickets will be sold on Apple Butter Day for $1 and the winner will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Pictured here with the quilt, from left to right, are Nancy Stoltz, Kathryn Watkins and Marilyn O’Linn. (Quilters not pictured are Emma Thornton and Jen Richards.)
The second Saturday in October is a special time in the city of Groveport where people gather to enjoy each other’s company and warm, tasty apple butter.
Groveport’s Apple Butter Day was born 39 years ago in Shoemaker Alley near the Presbyterian Church on a frosty October morning. Ever since then, folks flock to Groveport for the tradition rich event every year to see historical demonstrations, visit crafters, and eat great food – especially the piping hot, freshly stirred apple butter slathered on homemade bread.
Because of its popularity, Apple Butter Day swiftly outgrew its original 1974 festival site in Shoemaker Alley and soon moved to Heritage Park on Wirt Road with the 1815 era log house as its focal point.
Apple Butter Day will be held in Groveport’s Heritage Park by the historic log house on Wirt Road on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One reason apples were selected as the theme of the annual fall festival is because the fruit played a vital role in the pioneer agricultural economy and daily life. Apples could be stored year round and travelled well when shipped over the rough 19th century roads as well as the slow moving freight boats on the Ohio and Erie Canal.
Apples, in addition to their normal form as a refreshing treat, could be used in many products used by the pioneers like dried apples, apple butter, cider, apple brandy, apple chips, and vinegar. They could even be fed to hogs, which were important livestock to the Ohio pioneer.
The GHPS created Apple Butter Day as a way to pay tribute to the town’s pioneer past and to educate people about what life was once like in Groveport and on the farms surrounding the village in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The one day historical festival is notable in that it has not succumbed to the modern lure of corporate festival sponsorship and gaudy carnival style activities. The organizers strive to remain true to the town’s historic roots.
There’s something reassuring about Apple Butter Day’s familiarity and relaxed atmosphere, and in knowing that each year I can get a hearty bowl of bean soup and warm cornbread and then follow that up with an ample slice of homemade bread topped with warm, thick, brown, sweet apple butter.
Over the years there have been rainy, mud caked Apple Butter Days, but more often than not there have been warm days of high blue skies with the rays of the bright autumnal sun splashing the festival grounds. It’s a day to be spent outdoors reveling in what fall has to offer before gray, cold November drives everyone indoors.
Above all, the best aspect of Apple Butter Day is that it is a homecoming. It is a day when people who have long moved away stop by the old town again to see family and friends. It is a day for those who have remained in town to reacquaint themselves with their neighbors. It is a day that encourages us to slow down a bit and leave our buzzing, beeping, bossy technology behind us for a while.
It is a day when we can all enjoy the pleasures of simple foods. It is a day that reinforces our link to those who have gone before us and to those who will follow us.
Try your hand at stirring apple butter
The GHPS is seeking volunteers to help stir apple butter at the log house in Heritage Park on Wirt Road in Groveport on Oct. 6. Volunteers are needed any time from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (614) 836-9113 to sign up for a time slot or for information.
Anyone is welcome to help stir and can fresh apple butter on Apple Butter Day, Oct. 13. Volunteers are needed. Hot apple butter on homemade bread slices will be for sale all day in the log house. Canned apple butter will be available for purchase.
The GHPS will sponsor the annual spelling bee at 1 p.m. on Apple Butter Day to students in grades 4-5. The winner will receive a $50 cash prize. There will be a limit of 20 participants. Call (614) 836-9113 to register.
Music and entertainment
The music and entertainment schedule is as follows:
•10 a.m. to noon: Sod Busters (main stage);
•11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Second Wind (log house); and Roger Tedrow and Mark Springer (at KidSpace);
•Noon to 1 p.m.: Sheri Dean (main stage);
•Noon to 2 p.m.: Delightful Sounds (log house);
•2-3 p.m.: Second Wind (at KidSpace); and Roger Tedrow and Mark Springer (log house);
•2-4 p.m.: Open Highway (main stage);
•2-4 p.m.: Ellen Ford, storyteller;
•4-6 p.m.: Highway 40 (main stage).
Apple Butter Day activities
Throughout the day there will be cornbread and beans at KidSpace; a petting zoo; hayrides around Palm Pond; homemade crafts; antique tractor show; historical craft demonstrators; food vendors; old fashioned games from Slate Run Metro Park; pony rides; and face painting.
The cane fishing derby will be held at Palm Pond from 10-11 a.m. The first 50 kids get to fish with a cane pole. Bait is provided.
The traditional octogenarian recognition will be held on the main stage between 1-2 p.m.
The winner of the Apple Butter Day quilt raffle will be announced at 5:30 p.m.
Civil War re-enactors
A Civil War encampment featuring Union and Confederate soldiers as well as a military chaplain, camp cook and civilians in period costume will set up at Apple Butter Day. The soldiers will conduct drills, present camp life and demonstrate weaponry.
Groveport Heritage Museum open
The Groveport Heritage Museum, located in Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., will be open throughout Apple Butter Day. The museum features photographs, newspapers, maps and historical artifacts of Groveport’s history.
For Apple Butter Day information, call 836-5301 or 836-3333.