My daughter and her new beau Zach (a really sweet 22 year old guy who is showing NO red flags so far) told me they were going to the annual Apple Festival in downtown Hendersonville, North Carolina, which is only a few exits south of me on I-26. They asked me if I wanted to come. I had some chores to do, but I said I’d join them later on.
Henderson County is one of the biggest apple producers in the country, and the Apple Festival is basically a big street fair where the apple growers come to sell their harvests of apples. Just about every variety of apple is available, sold out of makeshift stands. There are also food stands, arts and crafts, a few rides, and a concert in which local musicians perform that’s held at night (I didn’t stay for that). It’s pure Americana.
Downtown Hendersonville has a lot of cute mom and pop stores and small art galleries, and on every corner are bears — not real bears, but full size bear sculptures painted in creative ways, most with landscapes or other decorations painted on them.
The last time I’ve been to the Apple Festival was in 1995, when my kids were just toddlers. For many years, it was eclipsed by Bele Chere, a huge street fair which was held every summer in downtown Asheville from 1979 to 2014. Now the Apple Festival is THE street fair in this region.
We had a lot of fun. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend (most of it being spent in Florida last week), but we walked around and looked at the local arts and crafts, and I stopped for an apple slushie and all three of us shared a funnel cake (which was so filling it turned out to be my dinner). You can’t go to a fair and not have funnel cake! And of course, I bought a bag of apples to take home.
I don’t like to drive after dark because I have such terrible night vision, so I left just before sunset, while the kids decided to stay longer and then go out to a movie. On the way home, I saw the most incredible sunset (which rivaled any I saw over the Gulf of Mexico last week), unobscured by trees or mountains. I grabbed my camera and took a picture of it while driving back home on I-26 (I DO NOT recommend doing this!)