Local charities took a donation hit last year because of COVID. But despite the pandemic, Rotary Club of Winchester raised almost $70,000 at their Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival in 2020. The festival is back again, slated for September 18 and 19 at the Frederick County Fairgrounds near Clear Brook. Read about the Rotary Club’s fundraising good works and what to expect a this year’s festival.
46 Years Supporting Local Charities
Since 1975, the Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival has been a key fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Winchester. Through the festival, says organizer Darla McCrary, the Rotary has donated well over $1 million to local nonprofit organizations. Here are just a few that have benefited from the Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival.
Winchester Rescue Mission: provides food and shelter for homeless individuals as well as a food distribution program that coordinates with local farms.
Laurel Center: provides emergency shelter and support services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their dependent children in Winchester and Frederick, Clarke and Warren counties.
Fremont Street Nursery: one of the oldest licensed daycare centers in Winchester, it’s mission is to provide quality child care within the financial reach of families that is safe, secure and educationally appropriate.
Winchester Day Preschool: This preschool is a 501C non-profit United Way agency and provides affordable, high quality daycare. The day school emphasizes reading readiness and speech-language programs in preparation for kindergarten.
The 2020 Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival raised nearly $70,000. “It was our most successful festival in our 45 year history,” says McCrary. “Who knew, especially since it was a pandemic! Monies raised went to the Adult Care Center for senior meals, which some of our Rotarians delivered to those in need. Also, the Rotary bought diapers for another non-profit and provided funds to the Rescue Mission of Winchester. ”
COVID Safety and the 2021 Apple Harvest Festival
The Apple Harvest Festival worked closely with local health district officials to produce the 2020 event. “We were keeping everyone safe last year with plenty of hand sanitizer and sneeze-type shields,” remembers McCrary. “Masks were not mandated but we had them if anyone asked.” The festival is largely (in fact 90%) outdoors and even the vendors are located in two open air buildings.
This year’s festival sees the return of some activities not available last year, including the canine interactive challenge course. Sponsored by Blue Ridge Dog Training Club, the course will be open on Sunday (9/19) and is for all breeds, sizes and ages. Four-legged family members are always welcome at Apple Harvest Festival!
And what would an apple harvest festival be without apple pie? Break out your favorite family recipe and compete in the baking contest on Saturday at noon. You just might win some cool cash! Visit the festival’s website to register. And if dessert is your thing, get in on the apple pie eating contest on Sunday at 3pm, sponsored by White House/National Fruit.
Other Apple Harvest Festival Happenings
Live music is a big part of the Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival, so be sure to bring your lawn chair. Musical acts include Mojo Mothership and the Wayne Lee Ray Band. And the entertainment is family friendly! There’s a KidZone area with inflatables, a giant slide, kids castle and obstacle. And to help keep it safe, the festival will provide nearby hand washing stations.
The weekend festival also includes a classic car and hot rod show, arts & crafts vendors, concessions and, for 21 and up, the “Tap & Cork” will be open for craft beer and hard cider.
Admission to the Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival is $10 and good for the day. And you’ll find $1 off admission coupons at all area Handy Mart stores. Children 10 and under are free as well as law enforcement and military personnel (ID required).
Be sure to put this important community event on your calendar. Come out and spend the day enjoying all things apple and help the Rotary Club of Winchester continue its important good work.
This blog has been updated from a previous post of 08/31/2020.