By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport’s Apple Butter Day celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Apple Butter Day will be held in Groveport’s Heritage Park near the historic log house on Wirt Road on Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Folks flock to Apple Butter Day, an event rich in tradition, every year to see historical demonstrations, visit crafters, and eat great food – especially the piping hot, freshly stirred apple butter slathered on homemade bread.
Apples played a vital role in 19th century Ohio’s pioneer agricultural economy and daily life. Apples could be stored year round and travelled well when shipped over the rough roads or the slow moving freight boats on the Ohio and Erie Canal.
Apples, in addition to being a refreshing treat picked right off the tree, 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 Groveport Heritage Society 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 nearby farms in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 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 one 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, 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.
Apple Butter Day 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 and leave our buzzing, beeping, bossy technology behind us for a while. It is a day to 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.
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. 5. Volunteers are needed any time from 6 a.m. to 1 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. 12. 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 spelling bee at 1 p.m. on Apple Butter Day for 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:
•10 a.m. – 11 a.m.: The Treble Clefs (main stage)
•11:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Out of Mind (main stage)
•Noon to 2 p.m.: Priscilla Hewetson/Ellen Ford (in front of log house)
•2-4 p.m.: Ellen Ford, storytelling in kids area
•2:15-3:45 p.m.: Tyler Wayne (main stage)
•2:30-4:30 p.m.: Mark Springer/Roger Tedrow (in front of log house)
•4-5:30 p.m.: Sod Busters – Dan Daley (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 10:30-11:30 a.m. The first 50 kids get to fish with a cane pole. Bait is provided.
The octogenarian recognition will be held on the main stage between 1-2 p.m.
Johnny Appleseed (portrayed by Rodney Ross) will appear from noon to 3 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, including a cannon.
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.
Apple Butter Day 5K run/1 mile walk
The Apple Butter Day 5K run will be held Oct. 12 with check-in at 8:30 a.m. and the race at 9 a.m. starting and ending at the Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road. The run will be held on sidewalks, trails and leisure paths between the Groveport Recreation Center and Heritage Park. Cost is $20.
Also, the Apple Butter Day 1 mile fun run/walk will be held Oct. 12 with check-in at 8 a.m. and the run/walk at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $10. The 1 mile course will be in Groveport Park.
Register for both events until Oct. 4. For information call Stephania Bernard at (614) 836-1000, ext. 1513.