A Day at the Apple Festival


Apple-icious End to Summer
The WSAZ Southern Ohio regional team made its annual pilgrimage to Jackson Ohio on Wednesday to take in the sights, sounds and flavors of the season. Hey it’s Apple Festival week and what better way to celebrate than on Main and Broadway!
If there is any doubt of the massive city and county apple pride in this quaint Buckeye community, one needs only to look at the huge apple- decorated water tower that greets you as you enter from the south.
You see commercial orchards have played a big role in shaping the personality of this down home country region since the early 1900s.
I personally reminisce every time I come to town about my trips to the Richard Brothers orchards, home of Jackson County’s oldest commercial apple groves.
So it was that ring leader Carrie Cline,  our native Buckeye Josh Fitz, Rob Johnson and "Green Thumb" John Marra came bearing hungry stomachs and a desire to enjoy a day away from the office. Warren Woody was our engineer on duty and Steve Eschelman our eager photographer.
Upon our arrival, we split up determined to leave no apple, err, stone unturned. Green Thumb headed for the Apple Butter making factory known as Victory Grange. There the tart golden delicious apples would earn a king’s ransom!
Carrie Cline worked her way through the maize of festival goers to talk with kids on the importance of the festival on their day off! 
Josh pressed the flesh with his many fellow Buckeye fans at our hastily raised tent. “Are you going to keep the rain away” was a popular question raised. “We will try”, Josh dutifully acknowledged.
As Rob prepped for his midday show live hits, I scoured the festival grounds with my neat little “flip cam”. The size of a hand, this little baby enables me to take decent quality (not high def, but decent) video of the events I attend.
My first stop was the main stage where the Little Queen pageant attracted 10 of Jackson’s most eligible and precocious girls. “I want to be the apple of your eyes” and “I am the ripest apple on the tree” were among the cutest greetings the sequin clad girls gave to the crowd.
Karena Fulks, a Jackson High senior and reigning Apple Festival Queen, presided over the contest. Trust me  her smile beamed from the Courthouse stage to the Field House. She is an absolute doll!
Speaking of the Memorial Field House, I made my way to the annual arts and crafts fair where a vast assortment of edibles and hand made ornaments attracted a nice crowd.
By 1 pm, the WSAZ gang had feasted until our hearts and stomachs were content so it was time to take in the school parade.
The color guard led the way followed quickly by the "queen and her court" float and the Marching Ironman Band.
As the Oak Hill High senior float came by, Carrie, John and I pulled off a WSAZ tradition as we hopped on the float and rode down Main Street waving like “seniors who never had and never want to graduate”.
On this next to last day of summer, the rains held off until the very end of the parade, the few sprinkles that made it to town signaling our invitation to head back to home base in Huntington where we shared the day's events with our viewers through Steve's creative lens.
My story on the day's fun will run on Friday at 5:30.
So much fun, so many new and old friends, so little time to enjoy, that’s a few hours in the 2011 Jackson Apple Festival.
Oh yeah, call me a glutton for fun, I will be back for Saturday evening’s Grand Festival Parade!
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