TIPS FOR ENJOYING THE APPLE FESTIVAL
There are as many ways to enjoy the Lincoln County Apple Festival as there are people who attend. That’s a lot considering that well over 70,000 residents and visitors each year come ready to enjoy the one-day festival.
Experienced festival-goers offer these words of advice to people who want to make the most of the day instead of feeling sorry they came.
There are a few Apple Festival don’ts that you should consider before you start out. The first is: no pets, with the exception of service animals, are allowed inside the Festival. If you try to enter with a pet you’ll be turned away, or if you’re found with a pet, you’ll be asked to leave. Second, for everyone’s safety and good time, no alcohol, coolers, bicycles, roller blades or skates, or skateboards are allowed on the street or sidewalk.
Put your feet on the street, but not without comfortable footwear. The Apple Festival is no time to break in a new pair of shoes or try to be a fashion diva. Socks are a good idea, too – preferably the kind that can absorb perspiration and protect you from blisters.
Remember slip, slop, slap: It means slip on a shirt, slop on 30+ spf sunscreen, and slap on a hat to prevent nasty sunburn. Reapply sunscreen liberally every two hours.
Weather or not? You’ve heard, “expect the best and prepare for the worst?” Around Lincolnton in September, a sunny, moderate morning can turn into a scorching midday followed by an afternoon downpour. Pack an umbrella or poncho just in case.
Bring a fanny pack or light backpack to stow your important gear while keeping your hands free for funnel cake. You’ll need them to carry essentials like sunglasses, sunscreen, wallet and hand sanitizer. You’ll see lots of people with handy wagons and strollers, but remember, less is more. A lawn chair may seem like a good idea for watching a stage show, but you’ll soon tire of carrying it.
Pace yourself by taking a rest in the shade of the Court Square, shop while you take in the air-conditioned atmosphere of one of Lincolnton’s many downtown businesses, or cool down inside of Freedom Church, at 125 East Main Street, for a table to enjoy your lunch. Freedom Church will also open their Youth Center at 102 Court Square for a respite from the heat. First Presbyterian Church also invites Apple Festival visitors to enjoy a respite in their shaded park, located beside the church at 114 West Main Street. There is a play area for the children and free cool water for everyone while you enjoy a tranquil moment among the trees.
Keep in mind that most merchants do not have public restrooms, but portable toilets are conveniently located throughout the Festival. You’re also welcome to use the toilets inside the Citizen’s Center, or the facilities at both Freedom Church locations.
The Apple Festival features crafts from all over the region, but keep in mind that the good stuff goes fast. Shop around and buy early, especially the homemade apple pies prepared by Cooperative Extension volunteers. If you have your eye on a beautiful piece of metal art or an Apple Festival t-shirt in XXL, go ahead and buy it. It may not be there at the end of the day.
Take a break from greasy foods. Funnel cakes are great and turkey legs are awesome, but check out some of the Festival’s healthy options, especially the fresh apples. Bottled water and other beverages are readily available throughout downtown so drink plenty.
Be safe. The Apple Festival is known for its excellent safety record and family-friendly atmosphere. That’s because law enforcement and Festival staff walk the streets side by side with festival-goers. It’s still a good idea, though, to keep your belongings in sight. If you need medical assistance, EMS is onhand on the North side of the Court Square. Find a police officer or staff member, or call 911 with your location.