Eden Methodist Church Apple Butter Festival is Saturday, October 11

The annual Apple Butter Festival at Eden Methodist Church is Saturday and it’s continuing to grow, offering more than just the experience of making apple butter.  Debbie Young is a member of Eden Methodist Church.

“Something new that we’re going to do, the big thing in the community lately has been cornhole  tournaments,” says Young.   “We have a cornhole tournament that day.  And the winnings on that will be 50% of what we take in.  We are also going to have a yard sale.  We’re going to have a primitive craft show with lots of homemade items.  Of course, our food will be sold.  We will have a bake table where you can buy baked goods.  And the youth of the church will be making apple cider.  And that’s a real neat process to see also.  They make it there in front of you, on site.  We have an apple press, and the apples are run through the press and ground and then pressed down and it becomes apple cider.”

The cornhole tournament begins at 10am.  It’s double elimination and the entry fee is $10 per person.   To register, call 540-839-3312.

The cornhole tournament is new this year, but making apple butter is the long standing tradition at Eden Methodist Church.

“It started many, many years ago at the Broce family’s house,” says Young.  “And they made one kettle of apple butter and then it just evolved into, I think we make something like thirteen to fifteen kettles of apple butter now when it’s all said and done. We do have copper kettles.  We make it the old fashioned way, with copper kettles and stirrers.  Although we have modernized a little bit, we do have some automatic stirrers.  The day of the festival itself people will be there stirring it by hand.  The kettles that we make ahead of time we use automatic stirrers.  It’s still in a copper kettle, it’s still a wooden stirrer, it just has a motor on it.  And that’s mainly because of lack of people.  In this day and age a lot of people have to work and can’t get off, so the few people that do go ahead of time, for the two weeks that we work ahead, we just need help with it.”

At the festival there will also be live entertainment throughout the day and activities for children including games, hayrides, pumpkin decorating and a bouncy house.

“It’s not just about making apple butter,” says Young.  “It’s a time of fellowship and the church coming together, it’s like a big event for us throughout the year.  And everyone comes together as family and it’s just a fun, inspiring time I guess you could say.  It’s like the entire church that comes together to make this happen.  It’s not just one person, it’s the entire church and a lot of people in our community.  We have people that come help us that don’t go to Eden Church and we are grateful for all that outside help.”

The church makes regular and no sugar apple butter.    It’s $9 a quart and $5 a pint.  Proceeds from the festival benefit the church’s building fund.

“It will go on all day long until the last kettle comes off and we can never predict that,” says Young.  “It depends on how fast the apples cook, which is dependent upon the weather and the type of apple that they are.  We’ve been down there before at midnight getting apple kettles off, because the apples were just different that year.  But they’ll go on early and they’ll come off when they’re ready.”

The Apple Butter Festival is Saturday, October 11, at Eden Methodist Church at 3740 Switzerland Trail in Hot Springs.  Kettles go on at 5am.   Most of the festival activities start at 9.

Some apple butter will be for sale at the festival.  You can also pre-order apple butter to be picked up later by calling 540-839-2144.   Pre-orders are sold first, so ordering helps to guarantee you get your apple butter.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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