NAPPANEE — Weather at the 43rd annual Nappanee Apple Festival didn’t disappoint those who were hoping for a continuation of summer temperatures. The event, which draws thousands of visitors to the small city in southwest Elkhart County, often is tormented by extraordinary weather patterns, including driving rain and unseasonably cold thermometer readings. This year, it was hot, with the mercury rising into the mid-80s on Saturday, which is typically the festival’s most attended day.
The annual event officially kicked off last weekend with the popular Tractor & Truck Pull at the Callander Sportsplex. Tractors of all sizes and vintages took their turn pulling the sled. Rainy weather threatened the event that day, but the show went on to the delight of those who look forward to attending the pull each year.
The more traditional part of the popular event began Thursday evening, taking over downtown Nappanee with all the sights, sounds, colors and smells of a good Indiana festival. Vendors booths, carnival rides, traditional fair food and local non-profit organizations and churches offering a variety of local delicacies lined Main Street and the adjacent parking lots and streets. Also included throughout the weekends was music on two stages and the always present “Granpa Cratchet Kids Show & Puppets.”
The Apple Festival’s big entertainment draw this year was XPOGO, an “extreme POGO Show” that didn’t resemble anything that has ever taken place in your driveway. The show was frequently replayed in the parking lot of the Nappanee Public Library, which is typically the venue for the featured show of the weekend.
Saturday morning brought the parade, which lasted more than one hour as it made its way westward down Market Street to its eventual destination of city hall. It featured everything from floats, political candidates and dancers to the music of the Red Regiment, the always successful marching band from NorthWood High School.
Prior to the start of the parade, Wa-Nee Wishing Well held their annual free pancake breakfast. The group has been active for the past two years in raising funds for members of the Nappanee and Wakarusa communities who are in need of a helping hand.
Additionally, the morning brought the runners from the area to the streets of Nappanee for the Apple Festival 5K Road Run/Walk. Runners nearing the finish line were cheered on by the thousands of people lining the street awaiting the start of the parade.
throughout the festival at the Napple Store were a variety of apple-inclusive foods, including pieces of the famous seven-food baked apple pie, the largest in Indiana.
At the Nappanee Airport on the set side of town, the popular “Wings and Wheels” car show took place throughout the day.
If you missed the event on Saturday, all is not lost as the festival continues today, Sunday, Sept. 16. Vendors, food booths and other activities are in full swing from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For those wishing to enjoy the midway’s carnival rides, today is also wristband day with unlimited rides for $18 per person.
Mike Hemmelgarn, a comedic juggler and ventriloquist will have shows at various venues throughout the day, while XPOGO will perform at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Silly Safaris’ live animal show also will have shows at 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.
For further information and a more detailed schedule of the day’s events, visit www.nappaneeapplefestival.org or check out their page on Facebook.