What: Johnny Appleseed Festival
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Johnny Appleseed and Archer Parks, off Parnell Avenue south of Memorial Coliseum
Cost: Free admission. Parking at Memorial Coliseum is $4 main lot, $8 preferred lot. Free parking is available at IPFW and Concordia Lutheran High School. Free shuttle bus service provided from IPFW.
Note: The Gathering of the Bands will be at 2 p.m. each day on the Festival Stage.
The Johnny Appleseed Festival celebrates everything old — specifically, from the pioneer era when John Chapman came west planting apple orchards to sell trees to settlers.
But there are some new things to report this year, both about the man and the event, the latter of which takes place Saturday and Sunday in Johnny Appleseed and Archer parks south of Memorial Coliseum:
•New books: The Johnny Appleseed Society, based at Urbana University in Ohio, will attend this year's Johnny Appleseed Festival, as it has in the past. They will sell a new children's book, “Appleseed Values,” which is intended for ages 5-7, along with many other Johnny Appleseed-related books and items.
The new book, which has 28 pages and sells for $12, tells young readers about the values by which John Chapman lived his life, Besecker said. It was written by Urbana University faculty emeritus members Ann Corfman and Nancy Sherwood, and illustrated by Deborah Ullery.
The society also will sell a new John Chapman biography, “The Core of Johnny Appleseed,” published by the Swedenborg Foundation Press of West Chester, Pa. The 152-page paperback, which sells for $14.95, looks at Chapman's life and faith, Besecker said.
•Farmers market: Visitors will notice a couple of changes in the Farmers Market along the Memorial Coliseum parking lot.
Longtime apple and produce sellers Doud's County Line Orchard of Wabash and Bender's Nursery and Orchard of Albion both lost most of their apple crop to a spring freeze and won't be at the festival, said Michelle Kyrou, festival farmers market chairperson.
So two other longtime apple sellers at the event, the James Schlup Family of Angola and Richard Schlup Orchard of Fort Wayne, will be joined by first-time vendors Lehman Orchard of Niles, Mich., and Boersma Orchard of Newaygo, Mich., Kyrou said.
The new sellers will be set up where Doud's and Bender's were located, Kyrou said. But Doud's and Bender's will be invited back next year, along with the two new vendors.
Another longtime floral vendor retired and will be replaced by Nagel Productions of Auburn, which will offer live flowers and perennials and dried flowers, Kyrou said.
Many farmers market vendors saw their harvest reduced by the summer drought, she added. But she doesn't believe festivalgoers will notice any shortage of items.
•Food vendors: All your favorites will be back, except a church group that sold out of apple pies quickly last year, said Bridget Kelly, festival food chairwoman.
Festival organizers believe all vendors who normally serve meat will do so again this year, Kelly said. The group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently issued a statement calling for festival food vendors to stop selling items containing meat.
Two new food vendors will attend this year: Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity will sell sweet tea, and Dolly's Cookie Basket from Michigan will sell large chocolate chunk, lemon, oatmeal-raisin, peanut butter, molasses and coconut cookies, Kelly said.
Both new vendors will be located near the Festival Stage at the west end of the farmers market along the Memorial Coliseum parking lot.
•Entertainment: Longtime local musician Joyce Frye will be back this year after being away, said Kathryn Lemish, entertainment chair. Frye and Greg Clark are scheduled to perform together twice Saturday — 12:30 p.m. on the Folk Stage and 3 p.m. on the Pioneer Stage.
Acts that made their festival debut last year and return this year include Suzanne & Jim, who play roots music, and McKinney Washtub Two, known for humor and music, Lemish said. Just as it did last year for the first time, the Traveling Wagon Stage will have continuous entertainment, with Dan Barth's Old Time Medicine Show alternating with musician Chris Vallillo's old-time music.
This year, Abe Lincoln actor Fritz Klein again will portray the late president. When not on stage or strolling the grounds, he can be found in a special tent near the Information Tent in the center of the festival grounds, where he will sign photos and chat.