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Unicoi County Apple Festival returns to Erwin for 34th year

October 2nd, 2011 7:45 pm by staff report

At the 34th annual Unicoi County Apple Festival, you can indulge in traditional foods like barbecue and hamburgers, try everything from Chinese to Greek food and, of course, have your apples just about any way you like them.

Whether it’s hot apple cider, apple butter, apple pies, apple dumplings or apple fritters you’re looking for, this weekend’s apple festival — which draws more than 100,000 annual attendees and has been consistently named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events of the Southeast — will have it all.

More than 350 vendors from around the country will be lined along the downtown streets of Erwin showcasing their unique arts and crafts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 7 and 8, and the Rotary Club of Unicoi County will be back with its jars of cinnamon-spiced apple butter, cooked the old-fashioned way in a copper kettle over an open flame. Quarts are $9; pints are $6.

Two stages will be included in this year’s festival lineup. The Phil Bachman Toyota and Hometown IGA Gospel Stage, located on the corner of Main Avenue and Love Street, will feature top gospel groups from around the nation, including The Foundations, The American Quartet, The Woodsmen, Majestic Heights, Tim Lovelace and Fairhaven. Entertainment on the Gathering Place Stage, co-sponsored by Waste Management and CenturyLink, will begin at 9 a.m. both days and will feature such groups as the Appalachian Trail Bluegrass Band, Highway 11, Dancers Unlimited, The DandyLines, Dance Explosion and the Gloryland Trio.

The children’s area will feature games and rides for the young and young at heart — from the Fun Factory’s Adrenalin Rush and a Bungee Run to train rides and the Saber-Tooth Tiger Slide.

To enliven one’s competitive spirit, the Apple Festival will offer several activities and contests. For those with an appetite to cook, the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service offers a cooking contest for both adults and youth.

For athletic competitors, a weeklong tennis tournament, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance, will be held at Fishery Park, and on Saturday, runners from across a five-state region will converge on the streets of Erwin for the running of the Nuclear Fuel Services Apple Festival four-mile foot race and two-mile race walk.

Partnering together for the fifth year, the Valley Beautiful Beacon Newspaper and the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce will host their annual Apple Festival Photography Contest, in which amateur photographers can showcase their work and compete for prize ribbons in various divisions.

The 32nd annual Blue Ridge Pottery Show and Sale, to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday at the Unicoi County Intermediate School, is a must-see for Blue Ridge pottery collectors and admirers. A preview sale will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday; admission is $5. Rare pieces can often be found during the show.

Blue Ridge Pottery, now sought after by collectors worldwide, originated in Unicoi County.

The festival spans a five-block section of downtown Erwin and includes adjoining side streets. To get there from Interstate 26, take Exit 37 into downtown Erwin. Several parking areas around Exit 37 have been secured for festival attendees.

For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (423) 743-3000 or visit

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