The weather is cooler and the fall harvest is in full swing. This weekend, the Fremont Fire Department will specifically highlight the local apple harvest with an annual festival they have hosted for more than 15 years.
According to department president Bill Brown, the Apple Harvest Festival is important to the operations — as well as the morale — of the fire company.
“It proves to be a successful fundraiser every year due to the phenomenal community support and donations to the event,” he said.
The support comes in the way of community individuals and businesses donating to the Chinese auction and cake wheel, for example, and those who volunteer their time to assist running their stand for the weekend.
“The turnout both from folks simply coming to walk around, grab something to eat and check out the vendors, as well as come out and lend a hand, is remarkable,” Brown added.
As the name of the festival implies, the fire department will be selling a variety of homemade apple goodies, such as apple butter made by their members, apple cider from a local cider press, and apple dumplings made by members of the department’s Ladies Auxiliary and community members. The apples come from the local Whispering Pines Fruit Farm and Graybills Orchard.
Also available will be pumpkins, gourds, flowers and collectibles.
Friday evening will kick off around 5 p.m., and will include food and craft vendors, entertainment, and hay rides at 7 and 8 p.m. On Saturday, the festival will open with an all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., and the second annual car, truck and bike show registration from 10 a.m. to noon. The day will also include food, games, bounce houses and entertainment until 6 p.m. — at which time the drawing for the festival’s large Chinese auction will take place.
Brown said the car show was a big hit last year, and the Chinese auction continues to be popular – the large number of donations draws people from all over the region. Another favorite at this festival as well as the fire department’s annual carnival, is the local Hit & Miss Engine Ice Cream.
For the first time this year, the department will display their new fire engine at the festival. Brown said they expect the truck to arrive just prior to the festival, and will allow the community to see with their own eyes where their donations are going.
Entertainment on Friday night will include Heather Olson, who along with The Silver Eagle Band, will present a Patsy Cline tribute show. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
Olson, of Clearfield County, said she travels throughout Pennsylvania and performs approximately 40 shows a year. She also performs the National Anthem at several events in Central Pennsylvania.
Olson said she “fell in love with the stars of the Grand Ole Opry and the sound of traditional country” as a child during annual family vacations to Nashville.
Six years ago, she was invited to participate in a local “Fall Festival of the Stars” event, as a tribute artist to Patsy Cline.
She was hesitant, but agreed to try. As a result, she said, “the demand for my Patsy Cline Tribute has skyrocketed.” She has also added a Loretta Lynn Tribute. In 2017, she said she took her career to the next level by finding a band to perform with at fairs and festivals.
“I was blessed to have found The Silver Eagle Band,” she said. “I’m spoiled because they are awesome musicians.”
What Olson loves best about performing, she said, is “meeting new people, bringing a smile to their face, and sharing my love of music with them. I love keeping Patsy’s memory alive. She paved the way for female artists, such as myself, in country music.”
Brown, like many others, looks forward to the Apple Harvest Festival each year.
“Some folks say they like coming out and walking around and seeing the cars and trucks at the show, some like the fall atmosphere,” he said. “Personally, many of us simply like seeing the community come together for a good cause.”
The Fremont Fire Department was formed in 1931. Its 50-75 active members — including 30 active responders — serve the residents of Perry and West Perry townships.