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Festivals, homecoming put Salem in limelight

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

People from all around the area will be gathering in downtown Salem for the rest of the week to enjoy two festivals, a homecoming parade, free entertainment and live demonstrations, beginning today and continuing through Sunday.

The 16th annual Salem Apple Butter Festival opens at noon today and will include a petting zoo, quilt show and the Little Apple Dumpling Children's Pageant.

Most of the activities surround the Depot Park, including the making of old-fashioned apple butter. Volunteers gather to make the homemade treat in large copper kettles, filling the air with the aroma of apples and spices. Fresh apple pies and apple dumplings will also be available.

Plenty of free entertainment will take place each day of the festival, which draws about 25,000 people during the weekend.

"It's just a nice hometown, family style event where people of all ages can find something to enjoy," said Gary Martin, one of the festival coordinators.

The Salem Apple Butter Festival runs in conjunction with two other events, the Harvest Festival at Fort New Salem and Salem-Teikyo University's Homecoming Parade, which will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on Main Street.

The Harvest Festival takes place at the frontier settlement this Saturday and Sunday and on Oct. 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The festival has drawn thousands of visitors to Salem for the past 25 years.

Hearth cooking, candle making, herbal lore and blacksmithing are just a sample of the daily activities demonstrated at the fort. There are also traditional meals in the Green Tree Tavern, and traditional music, storytelling and games to keep visitors entertained.

Something new this year is the demonstration of farm activities.

"There will be something a little different each day, and you may see everything from soap making to pitching hay," said Carol Schweiker, director of Fort New Salem.

Free shuttle service allows visitors to easily commute between the two events. A short bus ride over the hill separates the modern town from the Fort's rural 19th century setting and experiences of a more traditional time.

For more information call Martin at 782-3565. For information on the Harvest Festival, call Fort New Salem at 782-5245.

Assistant city editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com.

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