Homemade apple pie; fresh squeezed cider; that first bite of the ripe, red fruit right off the tree. With the autumnal equinox upon us — the official start of fall — a Rhode Island tradition is about to begin.
The apple picking season gets its official kickoff this weekend at Johnston Memorial Park for this year's Johnston Apple Festival, set for Sept. 21 and 22. The annual celebration is marking its 26th year in 2013, and includes longtime favorites as well as new features and activities for young and old.
Festivities kick off Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with the opening parade, led by the Johnston High School marching band and including local dignitaries. From there, the game and food booths will be up and running.
The weekend includes a jazz performance by Steve Burke Saturday at noon, followed by the annual apple pie baking contest, local dance, singing and comedy performances and the Touch-A-Truck exhibit, which last year included rescue and construction vehicles. The trucks will be open for exploring from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Local performances continue through 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
This year's Apple Festival also features an "After Hours" get-together 'round the campfire from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a "Senior Singles Mingle" for folks 60 and over at the Parrillo Building from 4 to 6 p.m.
Admission to the Apple Festival is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. To get to Johnston Memorial Park, take I-295 to Exit 6A (Hartford Avenue east). The park is just ahead on the left.
For more information, check out the Apple Festival calendar listing on Johnston Patch, which includes a downloadable PDF of the weekend schedule.
Do you plan on getting an early jump on the apple picking this weekend? With dozens of locations to choose from all around the state, we want to know where you and your family go each year and why, giving our readers a resource for the local apple picking venues in the area.
Share your thoughts in our comments section below and happy apple picking!