Apple Harvest Festival celebrates apples, amazing food

On the colorful fall day of Oct. 19, the town of Waynesville held the Apple Harvest Festival. According to, this year marked the 25th anniversary of the Apple Harvest Festival.

While celebrating this delicious fruit, the festival also exhibited the many talents of the local crafters, as well as rejoicing in the scrumptious food that was there and gave the opportunity for people to come together and show their heritage. The sweet, fried smell of funnel cakes permeated through the atmosphere while the homey sound of a banjo playing followed the steps of gazing tourists.

According to, there were more than 130 exhibitors at the festival. One of the exhibitors there was Barber Orchards Fruit Stand. During the festival, they sold apple products including apples, fresh apple cider that was squeezed the day before, cider donuts, apple cakes and apple butter.

Stephen Arrington, of Barber Orchards Fruit Stand and a fifth generation apple grower, said that he enjoys farming in general and that his favorite part about apple growing is the fact that it’s been in his family for generations.

Arrington’s favorite part about selling Barber Orchards Fruit Stand apples and apple products at the festival is talking to people.

“We have a retail that sells quite a bit. I’m mostly involved with producing the fruit and packing it all,” Arrington said.

The food sold at the festival played a major part in the satisfaction of the tourists. Shawn Sampson and Amy Harrington said that their favorite part about the Apple Harvest Festival was getting some drinks from Soda Jerks at 38 Main Street and some toffee-flavored popcorn.

Harrington also said that they like people watching.

“People watching’s always fun,” Harrington said.

All around the festival, there was a variety of local artisans who displayed their talents. According to Rick and Cindy Hall, they enjoyed the arts and crafts that were featured at the festival.

“I like to come somewhere where you can find something that’s made in the United States without having to go to an antiques store,” said Cindy Hall.

Two of the artists were Vicki Allen and Norma Toner with TRL Creations (Two Retired Ladies Creations). The crafts that they sold at the festival were pieces made out of silverware that they found at places like auctions and thrift stores. Some of these crafts included wind chimes, recipe forks and vases.

Robby Railey of Milton Mugs & More and Michelle Walker of The Art of Michelle Walker sold ceramics and paintings that they created. The ceramics that Railey sold all featured unique designs. When asked about the inspiration for his designs, he said that some of it came from watching horror movies, while a lot of it comes from wanting to try something new.

“Ten percent’s probably watching Army of Darkness and getting crazy ideas like that,” Railey said.

He talked about a deteriorating severed head vase, a twisted head vase he has as well and a snake vase.

Railey claims that the other 90 percent of his inspiration comes from wanting to try something new.

A lot of Walker’s paintings featured skeletons. When asked about the inspiration for her work, Walker said that she has always loved anatomy and the human body and form. She expressed that importance of getting the muscle and bone structure right when drawing people.

Walker related how she took a bunch of anatomy classes and how she learned about the bones in the body. She explained how she can draw bones straight out of her head without having to look at a picture of a skeleton.

“You get used to drawing it so much that you can just whip it out,” Walker said.

Laura Mullis of Baskets by Lam sold baskets that she had made by hand and hand painted. She explained that the materials for her baskets consisted of natural materials from her yard which included honeysuckle vine, grapevine and yucca plant. Mullis said that she tries all different types of plants to “see what works and what doesn’t work.”

When asked about some of inspirations for the designs on her baskets, she said that she “just thinks things up and try it out and see if it works.”

Richard Millsaps from Robbinsville sold walking sticks that he had made. When talking about his walking sticks, he said that he had used about 25 different woods when making them. These types of woods included sourwoods, dogwoods, black gums, maples and sassafras.

When in the process of making his walking sticks, Millsaps explained that he does not touch the woods he uses for two or three years, and he leaves them in the dark. Millsaps explained that this way, the wood will not split and clog up his tools as well, which he said the wood would do if they are green.

The walking sticks that Millsaps sold all featured unique, intricate designs. When asked about the inspiration for his designs, he explained that the designs come out of his head. That he doesn’t have any patterns.

The Apple Harvest Festival not only adored the apple but praised the many talents that were displayed and the sense of community and heritage as well. People not only came for the apples but to see the arts and crafts that were there, rejoice in their origin and partake of the delicious food that was there.