WELLSBURG - In its 34th year, the West Virginia Applefest at Wellsburg offers a variety of entertainment and activities, and that's why it's had lasting appeal.
Set for Oct. 5-7, the festival's name was changed in recent years to make it known to people who live farther from Wellsburg, but its fun and friendly atmosphere hasn't changed, said Michael O'Brien.
O'Brien and Ernie Jack have co-chaired the event for many years, assisted by associate chairman Rita Ramsey and many others.
Visitors to the festival will find numerous food and craft booths along Charles Street and an assortment of local talent on the Wellsburg Town Square.
Over the years the square has been the stage for a variety of entertainers, including country singers, rock bands, barbershop quartets, jazz ensembles, cloggers, dance schools and magicians.
Apples of assorted varieties are served in various ways, from apple butter made at the scene to thousands of apple pies sold by the Wellsburg Kiwanis Club to hot or cold apple cider sold at the information booth on the town square.
Over the years the festival has included pony rides; a pumpkin-decorating contest and pumpkin-carving contest, using safety knives, for children; the Applefest Pageant; and apple bake-off, a contest involving pies and other treats.
The festival was inspired by the city's connection to the Grimes Golden variety of apple, which was discovered on W.Va. 27 by Thomas Grimes, a farmer and public official, in 1802. According to legend, the tree was planted by Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman, a missionary who planted apple trees in many areas of the midwest in the late 1700s.
The Applefest Committee has been working to restore the Grimes Golden Roadside Park, located off W.Va. 27 near Grimes' former farm.
O'Brien said the park will receive additional attention now that it's part of the Historic Wellsburg-Bethany Scenic Byway, which extends from Brooke Hills Park into Wellsburg's historic district and to Bethany.