BELPRE - The start of the 34th annual Apple Butter Stir-Off took place Saturday in Howes Grove Park in Belpre.
Saturday's events included the Belpre High School Band and Little Miss Apple of Your Eye Contest.
The stir-off is always held on the first weekend of October, and this year people welcomed a nice change, a cool and sunny day.
Photo by Mandi Cardosi
Mark Nutter stirs apple butter in Belpre on Saturday during the Belpre Apple Butter Stir-off at Howes Grove Park in Belpre.
Willene Bacon, event co-chair for the Belpre Lions Club, said the event was off to a better start compared to last year, when it suffered a weekend of rain. She said it was a more of a chilly day than most people expected on Saturday, but the event was still bringing a large crowd thanks to some sunshine.
"It's been slow," she said. "Cooler, but still better than last year."
Bacon said the Stir-Off was being run a little differently this year. Guests were not charged admission, but there was a chance to win money, gas and grocery cards by purchasing raffle tickets.
"We have kids' games, a carnival, and instead of charging at the gate we have a raffle," said Bacon.
First place prize of the raffle was a cash prize of $300, while second place was a $200 gas card and third place was a $100 grocery card.
Susan Dennis, a volunteer from Pioneer Presbyterian Church of Belpre, said the church and Boy Scouts Troop 91 help make and donate the apple butter each year and split the proceeds. The Scouts use their earnings for individual boys' accounts to be used for summer camp and other projects. The church uses the proceeds for general projects.
In the past, their combined efforts have made about 220 gallons of apple butter each year.
Dennis said there are two kettles for church volunteers and guests to stir during the day. She said the Scouts pick, prepare and cook the apple sauce. The mixture being stirred at the festival includes that apple sauce, along with sugar, cinnamon candy and oil.
"It's been an ongoing project for both of us (the church and Boy Scouts)," said Dennis. "Older people share their stories while the kids try."
Jars are provided by the two groups, and volunteers form an assembly line to fill them with the delicious finished product. One volunteer uses a pan or scoop to pour the apple butter into each jar, another wipes the jar clean with a towel and lastly a lid is put on the jar to seal it up and sell it to the next customer. If the apple butter doesn't sell out at the event, the groups can sell it all year.
Dennis said organizers like to remind people of the old fashioned history of apple butter. Through the combined efforts of the church and Boy Scouts, they have provided the apple butter for over 17 years.
Bacon said along with the crafts and prizes, entertainment is provided each day at the Stir-Off, which concludes today. The schedule of activities includes:
* 11:55 a.m.: President's Welcome
* Noon: Buckeye Travelers
* 1:30 p.m.: Taylor Sams
* 3 p.m.: Plan B
* 5 p.m.: Closing