(We came for the funnel cakes, icecream made the traditional way, donuts larger than your face, turkey legs, and…. Oh wait, sorry…. got distracted by food.)
Mike put the Apple Festival on our calendar months ago. It is an event that my family has gone to for years. Ever since Mike and I have been married we have joined in. I basically love any excuse to get up to the mountains. We tend to find ourselves on the eastern coast of NC more often than the west. But the Appalachian mountains are where I want to be, especially in the fall.
The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is my mom’s hometown of North Wilkesboro. My aunts are adamant about getting there by 8am. It’s nearly three hours from where we live in Harnett. But with Mike getting home at 4am after his Friday Night Football madness and getting two kids out the door in the darkness, we didn’t leave the house until 6 am. The fog was immense. It was so thick that we could barely see five feet in front of us for much of the drive. It was not a quick and easy trip. Sometimes I love fog because it seems mysterious and can add a gentleness to the scenery. This fog covered the entire scene though, and we didn’t get to gaze on the incredible mountainside. We had only the lines on the road to marvel at. Somehow, as soon as we parked, the fog cleared, the heat came, and we could finally enjoy what we came for.
In years past, we have arrived early before the massive crowds and it has been fun and easy getting to see all of the vendors and all the food that we could handle. This year we were running later than we had hoped and there were endless crowds of people. There were sections that were too packed for us and our not so little double stroller. I was glad to see so many people enjoying our little treasure but it made it slightly difficult for a little baby who doesn’t like crowds, noise, or direct sun. It was our first long trip with both kids and we had to take a number of breaks outside the stroller. We found a small lot and let Josiah run some energy out between snacks. We danced to some music, and took our time navigating the streets. Luckily, there was plenty to entertain a curious toddler.
North Wilkesboro has always been a special place to me. It’s a small town nestled into the mountainside. It has so much history and so much beauty. We don’t go up much since my grandfather passed away. But when we do, the town always gifts me with a certain amount of peace and serenity.
My grandmother told stories of segregation and the history of different buildings. She showed Mike the side entrance that all the Blacks were sent through and how it would cost one quarter to see a show. I love to see places that have history – good or bad.
The festival had a multitude of music, crafts, and food. There was a stage with bands performing. There were also musicians on street corners along the way that gathered and played for small crowds. There were also various performances and activities for kids down by the farmer’s market area. We saw some incredible craftsmanship from makers at different vendor tents. And there were hundreds of vendors. There was something there for everyone. And of course you go to an apple festival for the apples. Which are always the best apples that we have all year.