By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
ENON — Thousands of festivalgoers will again have an opportunity this weekend to explore the past and savor the sweet aroma of apple butter simmering in large copper kettles over open wood fires at the 38th Annual Enon Apple Butter Festival.
Sponsored by the Enon Community Historical Society (ECHS), the Apple Butter Festival is the largest community fundraiser of the year in the village, drawing approximately 10,000 visitors during the two-day event.
This year, the festival will be held along South Xenia Drive near Settlers Park and on the grounds of Enon Primary School, located at 120 S. Xenia Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 and 11 a.m.to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. Both admission and parking are free, with handicap parking available on the north side of the school, adjacent to Broadway Avenue. Visitors are asked to leave their pets at home.
The opening ceremony kicking off the festival will take place near the intersection of South Xenia Drive and Scott Street at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will include musical entertainment provided by the Greenon High School Band and Choir. Following the ceremony, visitors will have the opportunity to shop among 120 vendors for unique handcrafted items and gifts and feast on a variety of tasty foods for sale. All those culinary favorites, including funnel cakes, bean soup, fire-seared pork chops, apple fritters, caramel apples, walking tacos, homemade chicken and noodles, barbeque sandwiches, brats, hot dogs, hamburgers, peanuts in shells, popcorn, shaved ice, cootie corn and delectable bake goods, will be sold again on the school grounds.
“The Enon Apple Butter Festival is the historical society’s foremost community service project and is always held rain, shine, or snow,” said longtime ECHS member and media spokesperson Ann Ingoldsby.
Those in attendance will also have a close-up view of apple butter cooked the old-fashion way in six 50-gallon copper kettles over open wood fires. Each kettle of apple butter must be stirred continuously for about six hours. Members of the community, including village and township officials, will take turns in one-hour shifts stirring the apple butter with long-handle wooden paddles until the last kettle is done in the middle of the afternoon. Ingoldsby noted that the historical society sold about 3,700 pints of apple butter during the two-day event last year.
“Both days, volunteers get up and start the fires at 3 a.m., and the first kettle of apple butter is started around 5:30 a.m. The other five kettles of apple butter are started at intervals throughout the day so that there is always apple butter simmering over the open wood fires,” Ingoldsby said.
After the apple butter is simmering in the kettles for a while, the special ingredients that remains a secret are added, but Ingoldsby noted that the apple butter is generally made with applesauce, cider, sugar, ground cinnamon, ground all spice, ground cloves and ground nutmeg. The apple butter is then canned in the canning tent, and the first jars of apple butter are usually ready to sell between noon and 1 p.m.
In addition to the festival, the historical society is inviting the public to an open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. both days at the Michael Barry Research Center and the Enon Log House, located on Indian Drive, next to the Adena Mound and just behind the Enon Government Center.
Ellen Ottoson will be weaving bobbin lace. Pat Partida will be spinning on a great wheel that once belonged to an early Enon family and on a Saxony wheel, which is often referred to as the “Cinderella” wheel. Ann Cegrest Tatting Guild will be demonstrating the technique of tatting lace. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the log house and the research center.
According to Ingoldsby, a group of citizens working on a number of civic activities commemorating the United States Bicentennial in 1976 decided to establish a historical society. Under the leadership of Robert Fowble, the group founded the Enon Community Historical Society in 1977, and the following year, was looking for a fundraiser for the historical society, as well as some local non-profit organizations. The inspiration for the fundraiser was an apple tree growing on top of the Adena Mound on Indian Drive.
“The committee wanted to focus on the way our ancestors made this yummy treat, so they gathered large copper kettles and wooden paddles for stirring, constructed a canning funnel, and studied how apple butter was made,” Ingoldsby said. “It all began in the front yard of Lewis and Carol Devore. The committee gathered apples to cut up, smash, and cook in fire-fueled kettles.
The first festival was held on the Village Green, adjacent to the Enon Village Hall. As it expanded over the years, the ECHS moved the festival to downtown Enon on the elementary school grounds.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.