History festival features apples

Festival organizers flooded Jefferson Street for the annual rubber duck race.



LISBON — Folks here have a special way to commemorate the coming of fall, and it’s all about apples.

The village celebrated its 40th annual Johnny Appleseed Festival over the weekend, complete with crafts, carnival rides and a gamut of apple-flavored treats.

The event, celebrated the third week of September in this historic town, pays tribute to John Chapman, a Massachusetts native who traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana planting apple trees between 1774 and 1847.

Beaver Creek resident Sonny Reynolds, 54, portrayed Chapman in this year’s festival, sporting a burlap sack and a tin pot for a hat, as legend describes. Reynolds handed out apples to young festival-goers, fresh from Lisbon’s own Dillon Fruit Farm.

“This is what it’s all about,” Reynolds said, distributing the small green fruit to a group of children.

Reynolds gave away 10 milk-crates full of apples Saturday, the first day of the two-day festival.

Family fun

The local chamber of commerce, the festival’s sponsor, rang in the festivities Saturday with a parade and the traditional rubber duck race.

Organizers flooded Jefferson Street for the event, in which rubber-ducky racers competed for a $100 prize. Participants designated their ducks with a number on the bottom, said Billie Kren, chamber president.

“It’s a nice community event,” said Kren. “It’s just nice.”

“Everybody loves the food,” she added.

Festival-goers had their fill of apples: apples in fritters, apples in dumplings, apples as butter, apples covered in chocolate or apples intermingled with ice-cream.

DeLuca’s concession honored the legendary shoeless wanderer with a “poor man’s caramel apple.”

The dish features a diced apple in a waffle cone bowl, topped with caramel, ice-cream, chocolate syrup, a cherry and a candy topping. According to DeLuca’s employees, the dish is a festival favorite.

Quilts and music

Nearly as ubiquitous as apples in Lisbon this weekend were country crafts. This year’s quilting contest drew 63 entries, according to the event’s executive director, Columbiana resident Carol Roessler. Roessler herself took home the exhibition’s prize for best of show.

Local vendors took advantage of the festival’s theme to market apple-pie scented candles and baking pans.

But the festival’s concert stage was the favorite of Columbiana residents Jean Mercury, 68, and Charlotte McLaughlin, 70.

“We’ve been here for four hours for these bands,” said Mercury from a bench in the audience.

“They were pretty good,” said McLaughlin.


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