What do you get when you combine the sun and the rain and the apple seed? A bountiful harvest, that's what!
People from all over Kern County and surrounding counties came to celebrate the 5th Annual Apple Festival in record numbers, making Tehachapi a hot spot for tourists as well as local folks Saturday. The festivities continue Sunday.
"Honestly, between the two days, I think we will have over 25,000 people," said Linda Carhart, festival promoter.
This year's event offered something for everyone and more vendors than in previous years.
"I was amazed," said return vendor Linda Carmichael, president of the American Legion Auxiliary. Carmichael, who was selling apples of all varieties grown in local orchards, said this year's sales were huge.
"Last year we sold out on Saturday, and had to go get more apples to sell on Sunday," Carmichael said. "I'm sure we will have to do the same this year, too."
One of the many food booths included apple nachos, sold by the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 3.
Asked what was in apple nachos, Scout Brandon Chapman replied, "It doesn't have cheese. It has caramel and chocolate and everything you live for." Other than food, festival-goers were treated to live music, games and a Kids Zone where children could bounce for hours.
"I had thousands of prizes for kids at the carnival games, and they are all gone already," Carhart said early Saturday afternoon.
Sunday's biggest attraction will include the Lion's Club's Apple Drop. According to Stan and Linda Morgan, of the Lion's Club, nearly all of the 1,000 available tickets were sold prior to the festival, with the remaining few sold early Saturday.
"Part of the proceeds goes to our Christmas For Seniors program, when we provide gifts to our seniors over the holidays, and part of it goes to our Diabetes Foundation, as well," said Stan Morgan.
The Morgans encouraged folks to come down and learn more about the Lions Club during the festival, and apply for membership.
"I love the atmosphere and the weather," said first-time attendee Alysia Brown, of Bakersfield. "This is really, really refreshing and upbeat. We don't have one of these in Bakersfield."
One of the most popular attractions of the Apple Festival is the bobbing for apples game for children.
Asked how she was able to manage biting her apple, Aurora Rudd, 5 1/2, said, "I was holding the stick."
"My strategy was going for hole and getting my tooth stuck," said Emmie Valencia, 9, of Bakersfield.
Matthew Guzman, also 9, agreed with his opponent's strategy.
"I tried to put my teeth on the top part, and then bite down," said Guzman, of Palmdale, adding that he planned to return next year.
The Apple Festival will continue through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attractions will include the apple pie baking contest, car show and Lions Club Apple Drop.