JACKSON — Last year, was the first time since War World II (1942-1945) that the Jackson Apple Festival wasn’t held in downtown Jackson. The festival was one of many large festivals across Ohio that decided to cancel amidst the global health pandemic.

A year later, the festival is scheduled as planned despite the current high community transmission rates. The festival is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year during the third full week of September. The festival is held Tuesday, Sept. 21 through Saturday, Sept. 25.

The theme for this year’s festival is “80 Years of Apple Premieres!” The winning theme was submitted by Bundy Elementary in Wellston.

This year’s Jackson Apple Festival Grand Marshal is Randy Heath. He served three, four-year terms (12 years) as Jackson Mayor. Heath also served as Executive Director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, holding the position for almost 25 years.

Back in April, the 2021 Jackson Apple Festival Queen and Court were crowned. Kaydee Brown was crowned queen, Kirsten Clark was crowned 1st Attendant, and McKinley Morris was crowned 2nd Attendant. No queen contest was held in 2020.

The festival will feature great activities, attractions and free entertainment for the whole family. The following highlights are just a few samples of what the festival has to offer.

The festival, which kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 21, will open to the public at noon. The opening ceremonies of the festival will happen at the Bellisio Foods Stage at 4 p.m. The evening entertainment at 8:30 p.m. will be the Lip Sync Contest, which always draws a big crowd.

Wednesday, Sept. 22 is sure to draw a crowd of children and parents, with a full schedule and all the rides you can ride for free from noon to 4 p.m. thanks to sponsorship by Adena Health System. The school parade happens at 11 a.m. The Columbus Zoo will be showing off animals at 11:30 a.m. at the Bellisio Foods Stage. There will also be an Apple Festival Got Talent Contest.

On Thursday, Sept. 23 the Jackson Apple Festival will start early with a pre-school parade and stuffed animal competition at 10 a.m. Parents of little ones may also be interested in the baby stroller races (12 p.m.) and baby crawling contest (12:30 p.m.). Both contests have a $1 entry fee. The highlight entertainment, Parrots of the Caribbean, which is a tribute to Jimmy Buffett, will perform at 8 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 24 the festival will feature Nashville Artist Phil Vassar at 9 p.m. on the Bellisio Foods Stage. Down the street, at the General Mills Stage, Mothman will perform at 8 p.m.

The 2021 edition of the Jackson Apple Festival will wrap up on Saturday, Sept. 25 with a day packed full of events from morning to night.

Among Saturday’s activities will be a 5K Run, Pretty Baby Contest, the annual Apple Festival Cruise-in at Manpower Park and the Grand Finale Parade, which features over 175 units, a band competition and float judging.

Throughout the festival, be sure to check out the Jackson Apple Festival Royalty displays. The Queen’s window display is located in the window of Andrea’s Bridal; the Little Miss Queens display is located at Ohio Valley Bank; the past court members display is located at Jackson Fabric and Sewing Center; and the past queen display is located at the Farm Bureau.

Also, visitors can check out the quilt show at the Faith Lutheran Church, the craft show at the Memorial Building, the Festival Art Show at the Markay Cultural Center and the numerous festival booths and exhibits.

For more on the Jackson Apple Festival check out the website www.jacksonapplefestival.org.

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