Applebutter Fest in Grand Rapids, OH:
Butter up some hot toast and slather the lumpy goodness of apple butter all over it, and you have Jaunted's personal favorite fall treat. And where better to score jars of it than in the itty-bitty town of Grand Rapids, which evokes the frontier lifestyle still during their annual Applebutter Festivalhappening next weekend on Sunday, October 11. There'll be historical encampments along the banks of the Maumee River, a mile or two of local crafters, vintage farming equipment on display, and numerous booths serving fall goodies.
Funnel cakes, pretzels, and other festival staples are rare here, where bean soup, buffalo burgers, apple dumplings and apple cider donuts are the order of the day. However, the center of the fest is undoubtably the giant black cauldrons of apple butter, being constantly stirred by wood oars as they sit on top of fires in the town's small park. Right on site they will can the good stuff and sell it to you; sugar-free is even available.
Full disclosure: we try to head to this festival every other year. We'll be there next weekend for sure, and you can usually find us tucked into a bowl of bean soup near the only bank. Grand Rapids, OH is convenient an excellent daytrip from Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus and northern Indiana.
Louisiana Pecan Festival in Colfax, LA:
Not everything is all about apple products during autumn; pecans get some play down south, everywhere from Georgia to Louisiana to Texas. Although Pecan Pie was supposedly first cooked up in New Orleans, it's the town of Colfax that's hosting the Louisiana Pecan Festival on November 6-8.
Just as in Grand Rapids, Colfax will be showing off antique farm equipment and local crafts, but they're also incorporating cooking and karaoke contests, along with performances from the "Pecanettes" dancers. Saturday evening even sees a classic pie-eating contest, with the fun all capped off by fireworks at 8pm. We recommend bringing your own fork to sample all the pecan pies on offer.
CiderDays in New Salem, MA:
Technically it's not just New Salem that's celebrating the awesomeness of Apple Cider, but all of Massachusetts' Franklin Country. It's all part of a festival called "CiderDays," but the New Salem orchards host the major event on November 7 and 8 with the Apple Festival. Here's just a sampling of what to expect: "apple pressing, live alpacas, cider donuts, caramel apples, hot squash/cider soup, roasted hot dogs over a bonfire, apples, sweet cider, sun-cooked preserves and more."
Various other towns in Franklin County will also host cider tastings, apple-themed dinners and cooking workshops during the week of the festival; for a full schedule of events, check out their website.
[All Photos: Jaunted]