Have no fear. Cider is here!
Fresh apple cider was absent at last year's Bedford Fall Foliage Festival, but the Snake Spring Valley Church of the Brethren is returning this year to make the fall treat - hot or cold.
"That's one thing that was really missed last year," says Stephen Lambert, coordinator for the Bedford Fall Foliage Festival.
Mirror file photo by Gary M. Baranec
In this photo from the 2010 Bedford Fall Foliage Festival, sisters Michelle Gilger of Lancaster (left) and Kim Grossman of Selinsgrove carry some craft items they purchased from vendors.
Apple cider is just one of the many draws of the 48th annual Bedford Fall Foliage Festival -?to be held this Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 13 and 14 and will attract between 15,000 to 25,000 visitors each weekend. What began as an antique car parade and a handful of crafts vendors has morphed into a 400-vendor extravaganza with music, food, crafts and entertainment.
"It's grown tremendously," says Jane Barnhart of Bedford, who sells her handmade bird houses at the festival and was also chairman of the Bedford Fall Foliage Committee for 18 years. "It started out very very small with just an apple press and a couple crafts booths. Then word spread fast."
Once the festival committee began advertising in newspapers, on television and through brochures, more out-of-towners began frequenting the festival.
"Bedford is just so beautiful, so it spread by word of mouth too," Barnhart said. "The festival put Bedford on the map. It's impacted the county and the tri-county areas. The hotels are filled. The restaurants are filled. It's had a big impact on Bedford and the surrounding areas."
Barnhart, who grew up in Bedford, knows "pretty much everyone in town," but, on festival days, she can sit at her craft booth and not recognize anyone for hours.
"I've been around Bedford all my life. I know a lot of people. Sometimes I can sit and not know anyone passing by. That's how it's grown. Physically, it's grown big time," Barnhart said.
Fall treats abound at the festival, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., regardless of weather. There's plenty to satisfy anyone's cravings, from the fresh-pressed apple cider to kettle corn and candy apples, not to mention the plethora of other foods. Families will enjoy the scarecrow making, face painting, live interactive theatre, Dennie Huber the Magician and a large variety of bands.
Lambert says every year the entertainment varies slightly.
"We always try to refresh the entertainment, but we do have our regulars," he said.
Other festival highlights include a juried arts exhibit at the Arts Center on Pitt Street and the antique car parade at 2 p.m. Oct. 13.
"Each year, it gets a little bigger and a little better. A lot of people come for the entertainment, but the crafters are the draw," Lambert said. "People come to see the crafts, and all the other things are just ways to enhance the crafts festival."
Planning for the festival will begin in November by a committee of 10 Bedford residents.
"Everybody knows what to do. It's a great board," Lambert said.
Some festival events include:
* The 28th annual juried fine arts exhibit at the Bedford County Arts Center at 137 East Pitt Street. This Saturday and Oct. 13, the show will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and this Sunday and Oct. 14, from noon until 5 p.m.
* Murder Mystery Evenings at Old Bedford Village, 220 Sawblade Road, 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday and Oct. 13.
* Walking tours of historic Memorial Park, Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 13 and 14. Tours starts at the corner of John and Juliana Streets. Costumed guides will lead the tours through Bedford's Revolutionary War Cemetery. Tours are available on?Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
* Bedford County Historical Society's 21st Annual Quilt Show and Sale at the Bedford County Historical Society at 6441 Lincoln Highway, Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 13 and 14.
* Antique Car Parade in downtown Bedford at 2 p.m. Oct. 13
* Fall Foliage Classic 5K Walk/ Run/10K Run/Tot Trot at 9 a.m. Oct. 13 at Shawnee State Park in Schellsburg.