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Published: Tuesday, 10/2/2012

Grand Rapids preps for festival

Apple butter cooked for sale at Oct. 14 event

BY REBECCA CONKLIN KLEIBOEMER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bob Bailey of Grand Rapids, Ohio, watches Joe McFarland of McClure, Ohio, stir apple butter at Kryder Farm in McClure, Ohio, in preparation for the Grand Rapids Applebutter Fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14. Bob Bailey of Grand Rapids, Ohio, watches Joe McFarland of McClure, Ohio, stir apple butter at Kryder Farm in McClure, Ohio, in preparation for the Grand Rapids Applebutter Fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14.
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GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio -- Apple butter: Smear it on a sandwich, fold it into muffin batter, or glaze a roast with it.

But first, you have to peel, simmer, and stir, stir, stir.

Grand Rapids' signature concoction was prepared over wood-fired kettles Saturday at the Kryder Farm west of the town. More than 2,500 pints of the sweet spread will be canned and ready for sale at the Applebutter Fest on Oct. 14.

Pioneer spirit and traditional handicraft will permeate the festival, spread throughout Grand Rapid's historic downtown, town park, and along the towpath.

"We have something for everybody," said Gretchen Sommerfeld, an organizing committee member.

Blacksmiths, potters, candlemakers, and spinners will be among the craftsmen demonstrating methods used in the 1800s. Demonstrations will be given in flint knapping, taxidermy, lace making, chair caning, and more.

VIDEO: Applebutter Corps: The Grand Rapids Applebutter Fest

Re-enactment soldiers and settlers will wander the strip of land between the canal and the Maumee River. Military encampments will represent the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War II.

The Farm Life and Antique Farm display aims to teach children tradttional methods of clothing and food production. Demonstrators will shear sheep and show how the wool is made into textile fibers, as well as explain how milk from a Jersey cow can be separated and churned into butter. Maple-sap boiling and corn grinding also will be part of the experience.

Such work was often a community project, and Applebutter Fest revolves around that ethic, Ms. Sommerfeld said.

"What makes our fest different is that the proceeds go back to the community," she said, in support of events such as the Rhythm on the River concerts, a summer musical, historical lectures, and the Town Hall's upkeep.

A juried craft area will feature more than 100 craftsmen who make their wares by hand, no manufacturing allowed, in booths along Front Street.

Other crafters will be in an area sponsored by Grand Rapids Youth Baseball and Softball on Wapakoneta Road between Second and Third streets. A flea market on Bridge Street by the village pool will benefit the Cub Scouts.

Apple butter bubbles and steams as it is stirred. Although it's the focal point of the festival, many other foods will be for sale too. Apple butter bubbles and steams as it is stirred. Although it's the focal point of the festival, many other foods will be for sale too.
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More than apple butter will be available for hungry festival-goers, with vendors peddling everything from sweet corn to sweet ice cream. Booths marked with a large red apple sign are "Official ABF Food Booths," run by local nonprofit groups such as Otsego athletic and band boosters, village firefighters, and the Grand Rapids Historical Society.

"A lot of these groups make their whole budget in that one day," Ms. Sommerfeld said.

The Mill Street and Beaver Street stages will feature musical acts from bluegrass, gospel, country, folk, Dixieland jazz, and acoustic rock genres. The Saline Fiddlers, comprised of eighth through 12th-grade students from Saline, Mich., will perform at 2:30 and 4 p.m. on the Beaver Street stage. Wes Linenkugel, a hammer dulcimer band, will perform throughout the day at Howard Park by the Town Hall.

Other entertainment will include jugglers, magicians, clowns, and storytellers on the Lincoln Street stage.

Admission to the Applebutter Fest is free. Parking in village lots is $10 per vehicle; free shuttle bus service will be available.

Schedules and a map of the festival area are at applebutterfest.org.



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