COLDWATER — A record number — over 215 vendors and organizations — filled the Tibbits parking lot and nearby streets Saturday for the 35th AppleFest in Coldwater.
AppleFest moved from the north side of U.S. 12 to Hanchett, Monroe streets, and the Tibbits parking lot after complaints came from vendors and the public following StrawberryFest in June.
Coldwater community enrichment director Julie Santure heard nothing but praise for the move off busy U.S. 12, she said as she walked the wide open areas of the Tibbits lot.
The event is left over from the era when Branch and other inland counties had hundreds of acres of apple orchards, which were decimated by fire blight and other diseases as late as the 1990s.
Orchard Beach Farm off Fisher road is the only commercial operation left in the county. K-Acres from Hillsdale and Showcase Gardens, which brought in apples from West Michigan orchards, had plenty on sale.
More:AppleFest moves after StrawberryFest complaints
Ruth Boone from Orchard Beach said not all the apples are ready yet to pick. “The apple crop is fantastic. The apples all look great. They’re coming up large and prolific. They’re beautiful.”
Customers picked up bags of Wealthy and Macintosh.
Boone said, “We’re doing a good business here, but we’re also open on the farm at the south end of marble lake.”
A few were still set up on the south side of the main highway through town between Four corners Park west to Hanchett. This sidewalk was crowded with two-way traffic, strollers, wagons, and people. This crowding for StrawberryFest and construction on Four Corners prompted the move off Chicago Street.
Businesses on the north side were open with sales drawing people. The Children’s Museum displayed items for kids to play with in front of its future home at 60 W. Chicago.
Nonprofit museum volunteers explained the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. crowdfunding campaign would help fund the relocation from North Marshall Street.
If the campaign reaches its goal of $50,000 by Oct. 28, the Michigan EDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program will match the local contributions.
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