How do you make an event exciting year to year? You look at what worked, who came, and what will bring them back?

The Apple Festival, which will take place this year on Green Street in Downtown Tehachapi on Oct. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the 13th and 4 p.m. on the 14th, keeps adding more and more family fun. There will be plenty of wonderful Tehachapi apples during the festival.

Besides the traditional Kid Zone with numerous bounce houses which kids can experience for hours on end with the purchase of a $10 bracelet, last year we had free face painting and a glider plane experience where kids could get in and be rocked. We also had a petting zoo, book reading, small carnival games and puppet show.

This year we are adding wiggle car races. What are wiggle car races? Wiggle cars are small wheeled vehicles that you sit on and wiggle to make move. They can hold up to 200 pounds, although our intention is that these races will be for younger kids.

We have balloon cars which entail blowing up a balloon, mounting it on the car and letting it rip. We have corn hole and bean bag toss, and other fun and old-fashioned carnival games. The plane will be here again as well as the petting zoo and face painting.

There will be two puppet shows a day with a real stage and true marionettes. We’re adding a virtual reality experience, a robotics demonstration and more. There will be roaming actors in costume, and an apple. The kid zone will be at the Depot Lawn but all the other kids fun will be at the opposite end of Green Street.

Parents can obtain Children ID cards courtesy of the Tehachapi Masonic Lodge #313. There are numerous photo ops like the giant apple at the beginning of the event, the very colorful bounce house area, the glider ride, bobbing for apples, plus we will have a roaming Apple Mascot who will be more than happy to pose for a picture.

At Centennial Plaza you can enjoy sitting and listening to live music, have a beer or wine and watch kids compete in modern day apple bobbing or on Saturday, watch daring adults try to eat a pie with their hands behind their backs (pie eating contest) or on Sunday serious bakers will compete in an apple pie baking contest. On Sunday, we have a small but fun Car Show. This year all color cars and many different styles and types of cars will be showing.

Of course, there will be apples. Apples grown locally, apple pies, apple fritters, apple drinks, apple sauces, lots of delicious food and many, many vendors with wares as diverse as wool socks to soaps and lotions, jewelry to aprons. Plenty of apples will be available during the festival. 

We are proud of how much we gave back to the community. Last year we donated to The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra, The Ladies Auxiliary of American Legion, Lions Club, veterans, Make A Wish got a large contribution toward the wish of a disabled child, and several other beneficiaries. This year we sponsored a rider in the GranFondo for The Scarlett Parks Foundation.

Many organizations have been invited to help at the Apple Festival and will be receiving a donation including Ladies Auxiliary of American Legion, Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra, Rotary, Interact, Tehachapi Wrestling Team, Tehachapi Warrior Freshmen Football, Windswept Ranch, Tehachapi Community Theater and more. We have donated booths to The Tehachapi Library, First Team 585 (THS Robotics Team), AST (STEM Group), Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District, Wreaths Across America, Lions Club and several others.

We invite you to join us at this year’s Tehachapi Apple Festival. For more information go to www.tehachapiapplefestival.com or email applefest18@gmail.com.

Linda Carhart is the former president of the Rotary Club of Tehachapi.