Johnny Appleseed Festival goers have come to expect a number of foods, crafts and displays when they come out to the festival each September.
This past weekend's festival didn't disappoint; the brooms, bow-and-arrow sets, bowls of pioneer chili, onion stacks, glasses of apple cider and dumplings were all accounted for.
About 250,000 people attend the festival each year, and the festival Director of Administration Bruce Hayes said this year's attendance may have exceeded that estimate. Some that weren't in attendance included members or representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights group that petitioned the festival to honor John Chapman, or Johnny Appleseed, by going meatless.
Hayes said he didn't know of anyone from PETA who attended the festival to pass out information. He said the request came just one month before the scheduled dates for the festival, a point at which very little can be changed.
Hayes said the festival board did ask vendors to consider adding vegetarian and vegan options next year, but he said there are many of those options already at the festival.
One difference this year was Huntington University participating as the festival's corporate sponsor providing not only a “generous donation to sustain the festival” but also volunteers to pass out brown paper bags.
The festival, which wrapped up Sunday, went smoothly, Hayes said, free from major problems aside from bee stings and overheated attendees. And children who've lost their parents.
“They were all returned in a timely matter,” Hayes said.
He said it's been enjoyable to see people returning for their favorite foods and crafts.
Susan Morgan has been attending the festival for nearly 15 years with her daughter Rachel Thomas. And when Thomas had her own daughters Sage, 9, and Drew, 6, all four attend the festival to get their fill of face painting, barbequed chicken, kettle corn and most importantly, apples with caramel.
“We always get two (helpings) of those,” Thomas said.