Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 25 newspaper on Page A1.
JACKSON — The 79th annual Jackson Apple Festival has come and gone for another year, however, the memories made will live on.
The festival had its five-day run, which began on Tuesday, Sept. 17, and ended on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The reigning Grand Champion Apple Peeler, Betty Tilley, once again emerged victorious in the apple-peeling contest held Tuesday afternoon.
Many have tried to out “peel” her over the years, but Tilley took home first place with an apple peeling that measured 63 inches long. Tilley’s apple peeling measured 74 inches long at last year’s apple festival.
Claiming second place was Tammy Kent with a 53 inches, while Brandy Francis got third with a 39.5 inches.
Later Tuesday, opening ceremonies were held on the Hozer’s Pizza Main Stage with Jackson Apple Festival President Ryan Shoemaker kicking things off.
He invited Jackson Mayor Randy Heath up to say a few words, and he said, “This festival is a jewel of the Jackson community, period.”
The Jackson High School Marching Band then marching up the street and gathered in front of the stage to play a hand full of songs for those in attendance.
2019 Jackson Apple Festival Grand Marshal Brad Munn said a few words and recalled his business journey with McDonald’s. He thanked the committee for the honor of being grand marshal.
Munn then had the honor of “re-crowning” the 2019 Jackson Apple Festival Queen and Court. Crowned were Queen Madison Strawser, First Attendant Brynna Boggs and Second Attendant Jayden Webb.
The opening ceremony then concluded with the cutting of the festival ribbon, which was simultaneously cut by Shoemaker, Heath, Munn, Strawer, Boggs and Webb.
Also Tuesday afternoon, the booth and window display judging took place, with Jackson County EMS claiming first place honors for their booth, while Northview School took second and Southview School got third. Window display winners were Kelly Wiley, 1st; and Erwins, 2nd.
A large crowd of festival-goers gathered around the main stage Tuesday evening to enjoy the ever so popular lip-sync contest.
First place winners in the age 3-13 category were Alana Stockmeister, Tayler Williams, Carsen McKinniss, Kate Stockmeister, and Branna Stockmesiter. Second place went to Noel Saunders, while a group made up of Braelyn Brennan, McKinlee Lizon, Alexis Helman, Aubree Casto, Nyah Parrish took third place.
First place winners in the age 14 and up category were Emily Wiggins, Gage Farrar, Kiersten Snyder, and Dillan Delong. Second place went to Elynda Hardwick, and third place went to Jeri Baisden.
Wednesday of the festival was “Kids Day” with a school parade and many contests being held throughout the day.
The school float winners were Bundy Elementary PTO (first place), Christian Life Academy (second place), Southview (third place), Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School(fourth place), and Westview PTO (fifth place).
The big wheel race winners in the age 1-5 category were first place winner Connor Swain, second place winner Collin Coleman, and third place winner Braxton Davis. In the age 6-10 category, Braydon Rodriguez took first, Eli Crabtree got second and Tyler Wiggins came in third.
The 2019 Blizzard Eating Contest team winners were first place team of Kevin Holsinger, Dominic Holsinger and Isabella Shipley; second place team of Logan Laug, Isaac Slark and Cayden Snyder; third place team of Jayson Dixon, Bryc Ramey and Lucas Smith.
Minute-To-Win-It Contest winners were Graig Dillinger (1st), Sara Newsom (2nd), and Caleb Lovett (3rd).
Wednesday evening wrapped up with the “Jackson Apple Festival Got Talent” contest. Several singers took to the stage to try to claim first place, but in the end, the judges chose Lacey Houser. Coming in second was McKenzie Mash, and third place went to James Gillum.
The fun continued on Thursday with parents trying their hand at the baby stroller race. Longtime baby doll, Elvis, used for the race was retired. The committee announced that a new baby doll named Lionel Richie was taking over. First place winner was Hope (no last name given), second place was Sam Kelly, and third place was Crystal Stewart.
Following the baby stroller race, was the baby crawling contest. Jett Ryan Kilgour took first, Braylynn Trent got second, and third went to Rhys Carman.
The evening music was a trip back to the ‘60s with a tribute band called Beatlemania Magic.
Renowned Recording Artist Shenandoah was the highlight of Friday. A huge crowd of festival-goers as far as the eye could see listened to the band, who played for about an hour or so. JAFE Committee members said it was probably the biggest crowd on a Friday night in several years.
Saturday morning of the festival featured a pretty baby contest. Crowned Tiny Mr. Appleseed was Zane Valgamore, and crowned Tiny Miss Appleseed was Katniss Johnson.
Other place winners were:
- Boys, 0-6 months: Kaysen Hedrick, 1st; Hudson Bigham, 2nd; Malachi Large, 3rd.
- Girls, 0-6 months: Dani-Mae Layton, 1st; Raygan Williams, 2nd; Macie Hoffer, 3rd.
- Boys, 6 months, 1 day to 12 months: Jett Kilgour, 1st; Mason Webb, 2nd Liam Walls, 3rd.
- Girls, 6 months, 1 day to 12 months: Rayne Celeste Cruse, 1st; Bailey Clifford, 2nd; Avery Johnson, 3rd.
- Boys, 13 months, 1 day to 23 months: Beckham Oliver, 1st; Kolton Burns, 2rd; Braxton Scott, 3rd.
- Girls, 13 months, 1 day to 23 months: Sofia Dunlaney, 1st; Raelyn
- n Sollars, 2nd; Amara Morris, 3rd.
- Boys, 2 years — 3 years: Zane Valgamore, 1st; Raylen Caldwell, 2nd; Cole McCormick 3rd.
- Girls, 2 years — 3 years: Charleigh Ray, 1st; Lynlee Erwin, 2nd; Emmi Burns, 3rd.
Boys, 3 years, 1 day to 4 years: Psydin Sprouse, 1st; Corban Christian, 2nd.
- Girls, 3 years, 1 day to 4 years: Katniss Johnson, 1st; Amiyah Jenkins, 2nd; Willa Delong, 3rd.
Following the baby contest, was the final part of the Little Miss Apple Festival Queen contest. The top 10 finalists competed on the main stage for the title of little miss. When the results were tallied, 6-year-old Kennedy Knittel, the daughter of Chad and Brittny Knittel of Jackson; was named 2019 Little Miss Apple Festival.
The rest of the day featured some bands. The highlight of Saturday is always the Grand Finale Parade at dark. The parade featured over 150 units this year. The festival closed at 11 p.m.
The festival will return for its 80th year, next year, with festivities slated for the third week in September (22-26, 2020).