The Apple Butter Festival happens every year. Started in 1977, it’s a local tradition, thrown by the Elk Creek Preservation Society. It celebrates a little bit of my county – Cecil County’s – history, as well as funds preservation efforts. There are buildings in Cecil County almost older than the country itself. My town in an old colonial town, and you can feel the history when you go to the festival.
Fresh apple butter is churned in bubbling copper cauldrons, and the centuries old Bee Hives are freshened up. For just a day, those crumbling houses are alive again. For a few hours, their creaky hearts beat with the foot steps of descendants who built the town. In this one place, people are kind. In this one place, you can feel the deep roots of the settlers that built the county. You can feel the strife of those before us.
My mom and I try to go every year.
Each time we go, it’s a different experience; new vendors, new faces, new events. A different band plays, this year it was bagpipes and a hand drum on a small wooden stage. People dress in period clothing, and revive the old tavern. Jars of apple butter are sold by the dozens, sticky and sweet. Kettle corn is piled high and sold by the bagful.
The atmosphere is amazing. Like taking a step back in time as soon as you walk onto the grounds. The bee hives are nestled in a valley between two large hills, surrounded by nothing but fields and forest. The houses are constructed of nothing but stone and wood. One is only half of what it used to be, fallen with age. Although there are efforts to restore it, and along with the third that used to stand there as well.
I love going to the festival. It’s nice to experience that little bit of history. The Apple Butter Festival feels like a scene from a movie. The leaves just changing color, cars lining either side of the steep hill, children running around with wooden swords, and laughter all around. It’s one of those traditions that make me proud to be from my little part of the world. A small part of local heritage that makes it feel like home.
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