From The Greeneville Neighbor News
ERWIN, Tenn. -- The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce will hold its 36th annual Unicoi County Apple Festival on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day in downtown Erwin.
The festival, drawing more than 110,000 annual attendees, has been consistently named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 events in the Southeast and is a three-year winner of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association’s Pinnacle Award.
The event offers handmade crafts, antiques, entertainment, a large children’s area, a Blue Ridge Pottery show and sale, contests and a smorgasbord of food.
The craft festival, which features more than 350 vendors from around the country, will be lined along the downtown streets of Erwin showcasing their unique arts, crafts and foods.
A new section has been added to this year's festival layout.
This new area called "The Commons Area," will be located in the parking lot on the corner of Gay and Church Streets, behind the Unicoi County Courthouse.
The Commons Area will include more than 35 new craft and food booths, a pro-touring stage, and a food court with tables and seating.
Three stages, including the Commons Area stage, consisting of continuous entertainment will be included in this year’s festival.
Both Friday and Saturday, top gospel groups from around the nation will praise the Lord in song on the Phil Bachman Toyota, Governor’s Bend Retirement and Assisted Living and Milligan College Stage.
The Commons Area Stage, sponsored in part by Ambrosound, Norfolk Southern Corp, CenturyLink, Johnson City Federal Credit Union and Nuclear Fuel Services, will feature a variety of bluegrass, acoustic, country and multi-format music.
The Gathering Place Park Stage, sponsored by Waste Management, will showcase festival announcements, contest winners, dancing, individual performers and more.
You can enjoy everything from Chinese to Greek foods, traditional foods such as barbecue, homemade hamburgers and hot wings to apple pies and apple dumplings.
Three food courts, including tables and chairs, have been established.
The large children's area is a festival within a festival, uniquely designed for the young festival goers, complete with rides, games, concessions and much more.
Sponsored by the Unicoi County Family YMCA, the 2013 festival children’s area will feature exciting attractions, including The Fun Factory’s Adrenalin Rush, Bungee Run, Joust, Saber-Tooth Tiger Slide, Bungee Trampoline and the King Kong Slide.
Children and adults of all ages are invited to participate. The train ride, a children’s favorite from years past, will also be part of this year’s events.
This year's festival is making strides in technology advancement.
Through a partnership with CenturyLink, free wireless High Speed Internet will be provided throughout the festival grounds for vendors and festival goers alike to enjoy.
An Apple Festival app for smartphones was created this year that will show a virtual map of the festival grounds with searchable functions to locate specific booths, stage schedules and other Festival aspects.
To enliven one’s competitive spirit, the Unicoi County Apple Festival includes many activities and contests.
For those with an appetite to cook can enter the Apple Festival cooking contest for both adults and youth.
Boys and girls under age five will have the opportunity to vie for the title of Apple Dumpling of the Year in the Apple Dumpling Contest fundraiser.
Partnering with The Erwin Record, the Chamber will host the seventh annual Apple Festival Photography Contest in which amateur photographers can showcase their work and compete for prize ribbons in various divisions.
For the athletic competitors, a weeklong tennis tournament, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance will be held at Fishery Park and on Oct. 5, runners from across a five-state region will converge on the streets of Erwin for the running of the Nuclear Fuel Services Apple Festival 4-mile footrace and 2-mile race walk.
The 34th annual Blue Ridge Pottery show and sale, held at the Unicoi County Intermediate School, is a must-see for Blue Ridge pottery collectors and admirers.
Rare pieces can often be found during the show.
Blue Ridge Pottery, now sought after by collectors worldwide, originated in Unicoi County.
The festival spans across a 5-block section of downtown Erwin and includes adjoining side streets.
From Interstate 26, take Exit 37 into downtown Erwin. Several parking areas around Exit 37 have been secured for festival attendees.
To ensure the safety of the large number of attendees, festival organizers ask that you please do not bring pets onto the festival grounds.
Bicycles and skateboards are also not permitted on festival grounds.
Don't forget to mark your calendars for two-days of Apple Festival fun in Erwin, TN!
For more information, call the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce at (423) 743-3000, visit the website at UnicoiCounty.org or stop by the Chamber office located at 100 South Main Ave.