The Apple Festival continues to grow and promises to be rich in all things apple.
Last year, the Apple Festival drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people, a number which is expected to grow along with the festival. Now in its fifth year, the Apple Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8, in downtown Tehachapi.
This year, the festival will feature more vendors and activities for the whole family in addition to a new location. The children's bounce houses and play area will remain in the lot in front of the Tehachapi Railroad Depot; however, the actual festival will travel down Green Street for three city blocks instead of being held on Tehachapi Boulevard as has been tradition.
"In the past, we were in Railroad Park, and only went up one street on Green," said Linda Carhart, who took over the helm as the festival's organizer two years ago from founder David Brust. "I talked to the city about moving out of the Railroad Park because it gets really small and crowded."
Hoping the city would close Tehachapi Boulevard for the festival, officials offered instead to close Green Street from Tehachapi Boulevard to D Street.
"This is a very family-oriented type of festival," Carhart said. “The festival's origins came from the fact that Tehachapi has been known for growing apples.”
In front of the Tehachapi Museum, a second kid zone will be added, featuring more new activities. A petting zoo will be put on by Wind Swept Ranch.
After the kids finish petting the animals, they will have the opportunity to sit for a spell and listen to members of the Kiwanis Key Club reading from interactive books. The Tehachapi Robotics Club will also be on hand presenting demonstrations of the high-tech robots they create.
Said Carhart, "I'm hoping that the Tehachapi Community Theatre will have some actors in costumes, too, and David Reed will be putting on a puppet show. There will be a lot of things going on for entertainment for kids on all weekend long."
Mom and Dad will also have new features to look forward to with the addition of two car shows to be featured on both adjoining sides of F street on Sunday only.
Said Carhart, "The Red, Yellow and Green Car Show will be held on one side of F street, and on the other side will be an Electric Vehicle Car Show which the county will be putting on."
Carhart said the Electric Car Show will include dealers of electric vehicles who will offer test rides as well as a meet and greet for electric car owners.
Returning again this year is the ever-popular Rotary Club's Apple Drop. The Apple Drop will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m. on the intersection of Green and F streets. Approximately 1,000 foam apples will be sold for $5 each, then hoisted into the air by a crane, which will then drop them onto a large target below for the opportunity to win cash and other prizes.
"A lot happens on Sunday," Carhart said.
Apple bobbing contests for children will be held continuously in Centennial Plaza throughout the two-day event. They're as fun to watch as they are for the children to participate in, not to mention a good photo-op for parents.
Adults will have their chance to sink their teeth into the fruit in the pie eating contest to be held on Saturday. Carhart said the reigning pie eating winner of the past two years plans to defend his title again this year in hopes of capturing the $50 purse, and, of course, bragging rights.
On Sunday, judges will gather to sample the secret recipes coveted by 10 pie bakers in the annual pie baking contest. There is still time to enter the contest, Carhart said. Entrants are required to provide two pies, one for the judges, and the second to be auctioned as a fundraiser.
Said Carhart of the festival's 90 vendors, "All the vendors are encouraged to feature something apple, for example, homemade aprons with apples on them and hair trinkets and bows with apples. Both Moesser Farm and Pulford's Apple Tree Orchard will be selling apples."
The American Legion Auxillary will also have their own booth featuring the ripened fruit of local orchards.
“The expanded space will also allow for more food vendors this year," Carhart said. "Every year, we keep trying to add more.”
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10.a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. General admission will be free, with a nominal fee charged for the petting zoo. For more information on the Apple Festival, call Linda Carhart at 818-519-7144, or visit tehachapiapplefestival.com.