By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport’s Heritage Park was awfully quiet, which is unusual for the second Saturday in October.
Normally on this day, the park is packed with people enjoying the annual Apple Butter Day festival.
Not this year.
Groveport city officials and the Groveport Heritage Society cancelled Apple Butter Day events this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of the festival – with its good food, crafters, artisans, historical re-enactors,
live music, and sense of community that Apple Butter Day offers each year – only the drive-by sale of jars of apple butter from stations set up along Wirt Road, located near Heritage Park, took place this year on Oct. 10.
The one traditional aspect of Apple Butter Day that remained this year was the gathering of a small, select group of volunteers who cooked apple butter in kettles over an open fire in Heritage Park on Oct. 3. The apple butter they made was sold to drive-by customers on Oct. 10.
“We were able to make 371 jars of apple butter,” said Carla Cramer of the Groveport Heritage Society. “This is less than one-half of our production during regular times. We regret the small supply, but are so glad that we were still able to continue the tradition of being with neighbors around the kettles on a beautiful Saturday. We look forward to better times next year when we all can get together again.”
Added Groveport Heritage Society member Larry Dowler, who has been to every Apple Butter Day since it began in 1974, said, “It’s bad that we had to do it this way this year, but it’s best for the community. Next year will be better.”
Apple Butter Day has been a mainstay and focal point for the community since October 1974 when it began as a simple gathering of friends cooking apples over an open fire in a church parking lot. One can just sense the in the autumn air as September turns into October that it is time for Apple Butter Day. The festival has grown over the years, with the city’s help, into the large, popular festival it has become.
The decision to scale down the event this year occurred after Groveport City Administrator B.J. King and representatives of the Groveport Heritage Society met with the Franklin County Health Department. The result was that this year the festival itself did not exist except for the drive through sale of jars of apple butter.
City officials had hoped to shoot off the unused Fourth of July fireworks on the evening of Apple Butter Day. However, city officials stated on Aug. 24 that the Apple Butter Day fireworks were cancelled.