PARKERSBURG - People came to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park on Saturday and Sunday for the annual Apple Butter Weekend to watch local 4-H'ers make apple butter over an open fire.
The Stillwell 4-H Club once again came to the island to show this honored tradition to the public.
"We are here on Blennerhassett Island making apple butter as a fundraiser to raise money for our 4-H club which helps pay for our camps over the summer," club president Brianne Affolter, of Mineral Wells, said Sunday. "Apple butter and Stillwell has been around for a long time.
Jacob Hunt, with the Stillwell 4-H Club, stirs a kettle of apple butter during the annual Apple Butter Weekend held Saturday and Sunday on Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.
"We are keeping it going."
The club is not specific to one discipline as members have a variety of projects across a number of fields. All of the members of the 4-H club participate in the making and selling of the apple butter.
"Everyone participates," Affolter said. "We have half-hour shifts as we are stirring the apple butter.
"When they are done stirring, they will go to the table and sell for awhile."
Even though the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac were causing rain to fall on and off throughout the weekend, the island still saw a lot of visitors Saturday and Sunday for the Apple Butter Weekend, said Park Superintendent Matt Baker.
"It has been pretty good," he said. "Of course the weather hasn't totally cooperated."
Over 100 people came over to the island on Saturday with many expected before the day was done Sunday.
"Actually, (Saturday) was pretty much a beautiful day," Baker said. "It is just when the forecast is bad, whether there is good weather or not, the forecasts will keeps people inside usually.
"Sunday, we had pretty good crowds coming over."
The 4-H groups are usually pretty pleased with their sales, Baker said, adding all of the sales go to help to support the clubs' programs and their communities.
"Hopefully they were able to get some good money raised this weekend," he said.
The Stillwell 4-H Club sold pints of apple butter for $5 and quarts for $8. Affolter said it was pretty busy Saturday until it started raining. She believed they ended up with more people on Sunday.
The apple butter making started around 6 a.m. with getting the ingredients into the kettle. The fire was lit around 7 a.m.
"We are cooking it throughout the day," Affolter said. "We add sugar every half hour after it has been bubbling for three hours."
For those who came to watch them, Affolter said she hopes they see young people taking part in something.
"I hope they understand that we are not here just to get money from them," she said. "As a 4-H club, we are here to help the community and volunteer in the community.
"We also use the money we raise for community service projects."
For those who came and found something delicious, they also saw a group of young people working hard.
"I think it is great," said Glenda Hunt, of Longbottom, Ohio. "It gets them out to meet people, they learn a business aspect of it and they learn the whole process of making it.
"It is a great experience."
Although Labor Day Weekend, for many people, represents the last weekend of the summer season, Blennerhassett Island will have events going into the fall with the park and museum open today for tours and such, "Brunch with Margaret" on Thursday, Sept. 20 and Oct. 4, and Blennerhassett Mansion by Candlelight on Oct. 12-13.
The Stillwell 4-H Club will be selling its apple butter again during Mansion by Candlelight as well as the Harvest Moon Festival at City Park and Volcano Days at Mountwood Park.
Baker said the park has had a busy summer.
"Our weekends have been really busy," he said. "We have had good weather for most of the weekends.
"I can't even recall a rained out weekend. We have been doing really well. Our numbers seem to be going up so that is a good thing."