Parents watch their children as they play in the kids' zone at the Alfred Apple Festival at Shaker Hill in Alfred on Saturday. Thousands flowed through over Saturday and Sunday to stop by the festival. RYDER SCHUMACHER/Journal Tribune

Parents watch their children as they play in the kids’ zone at the Alfred Apple Festival at Shaker Hill in Alfred on Saturday. Thousands flowed through over Saturday and Sunday to stop by the festival. RYDER SCHUMACHER/Journal Tribune

ALFRED — Autumn is here, and the season start was fully on display in Alfred this weekend as hundreds of people attended the Shaker Hill Apple Festival.

Cars flowed into the Shaker Hill campus around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, and by noon the events overflow-parking area had only a few spots left. Guests spent their time shopping amongst the dozens of vendors who sold everything from artisan crafts to comfort foods, clothing, artwork, jewelry and other novelty items.

Adjacent to the Shaker Museum — which was open for those who wanted to learn more about the Shaker culture — a yard sale attracted dozens of people who perused the hundreds of items on display.

Activities at the festival seemed to be outnumbered only by children and their families. The festival had a greater appeal to kids this year, said Chief Festival Organizer and York County Shelters Program Director Bob Dawber, referencing that the kids’ zone was far larger this year with the addition of multiple inflatable bouncy houses. Near the yard sale, pony and hayrides were also available for kids looking to get the full experience.

Donald Gaudet, of Alfred, and his daughter Sadie, 2, spent most of their time in the kids’ zone. Gaudet said Sadie was having “the time of her life.”

“She’s been wanting to do everything here,” Gaudet said. “When she saw the bouncy house she was all over it.”

The Apple Festival was held in accordance with the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum, Gile’s Family Farm, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, but predominantly the York County Shelters Program, which was responsible for gathering the festivals vendors, food options and a musical lineup that featured American folk musician John Gorka, amongst others. Musical performances spanned through both Saturday and Sunday.

Dawber said aside from raising awareness for the homeless shelter, the mission over the weekend was to change peoples’ perception as to what a homeless shelter can look like, as well as a homeless person.

“A lot of people don’t know who we are,” Dawber said. “When most folks imagine a homeless shelter they think of some place that’s beaten down, but it’s not. This is a gorgeous area that YCSP is in, and if you walked through the festival you wouldn’t be able to tell who the residents are and who uses our services. That’s why we hold this festival.”

— Staff Writer Ryder Schumacher can be reached at 282-1535, or via email at [email protected]


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