JACKSON — If you have ever visited the Jackson Apple Festival and enjoyed your time there, it was more than likely thanks to the hard work and dedication of someone wearing a red shirt.
One of those dedicated people is 35-year-old Brandon Davis. He served as Jackson Apple Festival President in 2020 and 2021. Sadly, the festival was canceled in 2020 out of an abundance of caution due to the health pandemic (COVID-19), but the festival returned in 2021.
Davis was “unopposed” in the election for president. He said it’s a great honor to be added to a long list of people who have run the festival successfully for the last 80 years.
Davis is a second-generation Apple Festival President. His father, Bryan Davis, has served as Apple Festival President for a total of eight years (1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2010, 2011). During that time, Bryan presided over the 45th, 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries of the festival.
“He (Bryan) has actually been the Apple Festival President the most out of anyone,” Brandon said. “So growing up, I’ve been involved and around it. It has been interesting to see it change over the years.”
Brandon said, “I remember even as a young kid going with dad for stage rentals, or helping Dean Osborne and dad line up the parade. It was always a good time, and a good group of guys to hang out with. That’s what made me want to be a part of it.”
The Courier also spoke with Bryan since he has been involved for several decades.
“This is my 43rd year of being involved in the apple festival,” said Bryan. “Now, my son is taking over, and that means a lot.”
Bryan said that one of the things he wished was still done that isn’t, was the large seven-foot apple pie.
In 2010, Brandon joined the Apple Festival Board. At that time, it was still the Jackson Jaycees, a group that was once in charge of the sponsorship and coordination of the Apple Festival. Since that time, a new group known as the Jackson Area Festivals and Events (JAFE) organization took over the Apple Festival in 2012.
Brandon also noted that for eight of those ten years he was the secretary for the organization. He chairs the little queen’s contest, with help from his wife and sister, for the last several years as well.
“I have seen a lot of changes during my two years as president,” said Brandon. “1942-1945 was the only time, until 2020, that the Apple Festival was canceled. During those years the festival wasn’t held due to World War 2. Last year, we had to cancel due to COVID-19. This year, we had a new ride company.”
He also noted that Jackson County no longer has any apple orchards, which was a change as well.
“The whole reason you do this is for the kids,” Brandon said. He went on to talk about how children look forward to the festival, rides and food each year.
When he’s not involved with the festival, he works part-time at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), takes care of the books for his wife’s vet clinic, and works with his dad’s trucking company. He’s a 2004 graduate of Jackson High School and has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine, and minors in biology and chemistry.
The final important question The Courier asked Brandon was: “what is your favorite Jackson Apple Festival food?”
“Every evening before I leave the festival, I like to get cameral apple slices with nuts... I have one a night,” he concluded.