Fall Fest returns to Stillwater

Apple pie of a time, Oct. 14

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  • From Fall Fests of yesteryear: Civil War reinactment exemplifies some of our region's history Photos by Laurie Gordon

  • A tractor-drawn hay ride is always a big hit at The Fall Fest

By Laurie Gordon

— It isn't every day that you get to witness an apple pie competition. On Saturday, October 14, any amateur baker is invited to try their hand at the “apple anything” competition as part of the Historical Society of Stillwater's Fall Fest.

Thanks to the dedication of the event's organizers, this will be the festival's 12th year. It isn't easy coordinating everything, and what makes this fest unique is it's all about good, old-fashioned fun. There aren't bounce houses or carnival-style rides but there are hayrides and pumpkin picking. There are pony rides, antiques, games, kids' running races and lots of food in addition to crafters, vendors, hay mazes, pumpkin painting, a scarecrow making contest and much more.

In day and age where technology seems to prevail, The Fall Fest is a great chance for family fun. “Every once in a while it is essential to put down our electronic devices, slow down, and engage with family, neighbors, and members of the community outdoors in the sunshine,” said the Fall Fest's co-director, Deborah Drumm. “The smart phones, tablets, and TVs will be there later, but for a while, at least, it's simply fun to walk around, check out the vendors' wares, eat a hot dog, and find out what's new in town.”

As to the longevity of the event, Drumm said, “This is the 12th Annual Stillwater Fall Fest. It has continued due to the efforts of its members. My co-chair, Roy Knutsen and myslef initiated the first Fall Fest in 2006. The Fall Fest's success is also due to the interest of community members and the continued participation of so many vendors.”

This year, the festival will honor Historical Society Member, Lawrence Earl. Drumm said, “Lawrence Earl is a long-standing member of the Historical Society of Stillwater Township. He was born and raised in Stillwater and he built more than 150 of the houses in Stillwater, as well as numerous barns and other buildings, a trade learned from his father and grandfather.” She added, “After serving in the US Air Force as a young man, Earl remained in the Air Force Reserve for more than 30 years, and he retired with the rank of Colonel. In addition to contributing much time and physical labor to projects at the Historical Society, Mr. Earl has been a most generous financial benefactor to the Society. For all these reasons, the Historical Society of Stillwater Township is pleased to honor Lawrence Earl.”

Earl said, “This is a great small town and I've seen a lot change over the years but the history remains the same.” Earl has many fond memories of helping fix this, that or the plumbing at the museum and recalls the people who originally bought the building and expedited it becoming the historic land mark it is today.

While the Fest is held on the grounds of Stillwater School, across the street lies the Society's headquarters in the Academy building. This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Academy which houses an incredible museum with artifact collections and genealogical research room. The Academy will be open for tours all day the day of the festival.

Apple Anything

One of the event's popular inclusions is the “Apple Anything” contest. The competition is open to the public as long as you ar an amateur bakers. No store-bought pastry, shells or fillings are allowed, and creations must include apples as an ingredient. The recipe can be your own or one of your favorites. The recipe must be printed or typed along with your contact information and placed under your entry. Judging will be based 25% on appearance, 24% on originality/creativity and 50% on taste. Judging will take place at 12 noon with the winner being announced at approximately 12:30. Cost to enter is $5, and entries must be dropped off at the Festival between 11 and 12 on the day of the event. First prize wins the total sum of the entries, so the more people that enter, the bigger the prize will be. Entry forms can be found at: <URL destination="http://www.historicstillwater.org ">www.historicstillwater.org

</URL>Vendors are invited to sell their goods at the Fest for the nominal fee of $25. Vendor applications can be found on the Historical Society's web site.

Small Town, USA

Peter Genovese, of NJ Advance Media, called New Jersey's small towns its “least-publicized asset.” In an article ranking NJ's top 25 towns, Stillwater made this prestigious list not as a go-to eating or shopping destination bur for a “great places to escape the rat race (or whatever it is you're running away from). Perfect for day trips or weekend getaways, these towns are packed with history, tradition and congeniality,” Genovese said.

Head to The Stillwater Elementary School next Saturday and take in the beauty, history and wonderful atmosphere of one of New Jersey's most becoming hamlets at The Stillwater Fall Fest.

There is neither a parking or admission fee to the Fest. For further information, e-mail historicstillwater.org, visit www.historicstillwater.org where an Apple Anything form can also be downloaded or find the Fest on Facebook.

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