Week of Oct 5-11, 2015
The big Berkeley Springs noise this weekend is.... THE 42nd ANNUAL APPLE BUTTER FESTIVAL. There's a reason thousands of folks come back regularly for more than 4 DECADES!, actually hundreds of reasons. It has to do with apple butter. And festival food. And music. And fun family games. And vendors and shops selling everything imaginable from fine art at the Ice House Gallery to various apple-themed products. And the parade, the park, the people, the beautiful fall colors....you get the point. We have the schedule outlined below and invite you to become a Facebook "fan" on both Apple Butter Festival, WV and Berkeley Springs, WV so you can see up-to-the-minute happenings.
For folks who want to make the Apple Butter Festival just one part of a longer party, check out Harfest at Sleepy Creek on the Potomac, a campground and venue for this music and art festival. The long fun starts on Thursday night and continues everyday with nearly 20 bands and a jam on Sunday plus an array of workshops and kid fun plus camping. Weekendlong general admission tickets are available at the gate.
Weekend long nightlife can be found at the Star Theatre where "Maze Runner-Scorch Trials" is showing its high energy action chops on the big screen Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8pm. The Star's incredible popcorn is on sale each night for walk-ins as well as moviegoers. On Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm, the Granary has music: Straight BS on Friday and the Carpenter Ants on Saturday. The Morgan County Observatory has authentic heavenly fun with a star party on Friday at 7:30pm and an Apple Butter Festival Open House star gaze at 7:30pm.
Another major nighttime happening off festival grounds is the Haunted Hayride at Triple B Arena, just over the hill from the center of town. Hayrides through an incredible array of monsters and frights leave from haunted central every half hour beginning at 6:30pm with the final ride of the night at 10:30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While you wait for your ride....or for your pulse to become normal, there's also Paintball and a beer garden.
All our restaurants are open their regular hours BUT we urge calling for reservations especially if you plan to sample the new Autumn menu at Lot 12. The Country Inn outdoor garden, right next to the festival grounds, is open for dining this weekend.
Back to our real reason for being on every Columbus Day weekend: Apple Butter Festival !!! (that's ABF)
It all starts Saturday morning at 9am with a nostalgic hometown parade CELEBRATING HEROES that will knock your socks off. Line up along the sidewalks, wave and cheer this 90+ entry parade with nearly 1000 participants!!! The main street of town will close for the parade for an hour so plan to get here early ... or later. All the booths open for business at 10am on the streets and in the park -- and there are a couple hundred. There's a food lot, a Farmers Market section, and an environmental street. The park is full with arts and crafts, and WV wineries are tucked along the street by the park. On Sunday, all the same fun starts at noon.
The spas are open for soothing those tired muscles. At Atasia Spa, they're soothing you with free local apple cider and a discount price on pedicures. Don't forget to drop by the shops too -- they're all stocked up for ABF and several have specials.
Apple butter makers begin at dawn both days lighting fires under their giant copper kettles then stirring and stirring and getting passers-by to stir then stirring some more. At 1:45pm on Saturday, the winner of the apple bake and butter contest is announced and big lines form at the kettles waiting for the hot butter to be jarred and sold. Hundreds and hundreds of gallons will find their way home with folks this weekend.
The Festival has two great new bands this year on Saturday and a return band on Sunday. Music starts with the Tonehounds playing swing, blues, jazz and more Saturday late morning followed by Annie Seger and Rumours playing pop and traditional country, blues and originals later in the day. Sunday between games it's Marv Ashby and High Octane playing traditional and progressive bluegrass.
Games and contests are the reality show part of ABF beginning on Saturday with the 42nd running (and we use the term loosely) of the turtle race at 11am. At 2:50pm it's another 42nd annual contest -- this time it's beards and mustaches. Anybody with facial hair can compete with fame and ribbons as the prize. On Sunday, two favorite contests -- 1:15pm for the Egg Toss (that's raw eggs) and 2:15pm for the performance art wonder of the Hog Calling competition. And the big finale -- drawing the winning chance of the 2015 Apple Butter Festival Quilt.
Both days, The Museum of the Berkeley Springs in the park is open from 11am to 4pm.
There are also music locations on the outskirts of the festival including a full slate of local bands performing at Black Cat Music on Saturday starting at 11am with the last band stepping up at 4pm.
Parking can be found in lots around town operated by non-profit groups. There's lots of parking north of town starting with the Boy Scout lot on US Silica grounds with a free trolley scooting around the festival bringing folks back and forth from the Ice House.
If you make this a spontaneous choice to come, check the lodging page where known room vacancies will be posted.
The Apple Butter Festival is an enduring tradition of Berkeley Springs. Folk come back for reunions. Others come for the first time and fall in love. There are so many "best parts" it's hard to choose but free, close and fun for all ages sort of sums it up.