Save the dates for Northborough’s Applefest: Sept. 17 to 19

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

NORTHBOROUGH – The state’s COVID-19 reopening prompted plans for the return of nearly all of Northborough’s Applefest traditional events. Scheduled dates are Friday, Sept. 17, to Sunday, Sept. 19. 

2020 marked Applefest’s 30th anniversary, mostly online. According to Applefest Committee Chair Michelle Gillespie, the 2021 in-person roster is filled with long-running favorite highlights along with new activities.

“Applefest is coming back,” she declared. 

Fireworks outside Algonquin

Gillespie is particularly excited that the reopening will allow fireworks to return outside of Algonquin Regional High School. Applefest’s fireworks were canceled in 2019 and 2020 due to EEE risk and COVID-19 restrictions, respectively.

In addition to fireworks, the evening celebration includes a barbecue, concert, moonwalks, pony rides and the Algonquin Robotics Team. 

Introducing new events

A new event will take place this year at Juniper Hill Golf Course. The longtime Northborough business is partnering with the Westborough-based Cold Harbor Brewing Company to sponsor a beer tasting, barbecue and golf tournament. Tickets are on sale at the Applefest website. 

Trackless train rides for festival goers of all ages will be introduced at another longtime Northborough landmark, Chet’s Diner, at 191 Main St. 

Plans are underway for a virtual cooking demonstration sponsored by Peppers Artful Events. 

Also in the works is a family scavenger hunt downtown throughout Applefest weekend. The committee is asking businesses to donate prizes for winners.

Returning highlights

The Rotary Club of Northborough will once again host Applefest’s beloved daytime street fair on Blake Street. 

Boros Cares 4 Troops (BC4T) is bringing its 5K race/walk back onto the roads. Proceeds go to BC4T to support military veterans’ causes. Gillespie is a founding BC4T member with Leslie Arsenault, Karen Brewster and Beth Davison.

“Our road race typically has 300 to 400 runners,” Gillespie relayed.

The Classic Car Show will return along with food and music.

Returning to the Northborough Senior Center is the Apple Dessert Bake-Off, with community leaders serving as judges. The good-natured competition is followed by a luncheon.

And more activities

Other popular activities are scheduled to return with details to be announced. They include the chicken BBQ at American Legion Post 234, Apple Pie Café, the Friends of Northborough Library’s book sale and Trinity Church Craft Fair. A children’s event will once again be held at the Northborough Free Library.

“Last year, Applefest hosted a virtual farmers market,” Gillespie added. “All the vendors are returning by popular demand this year. It will be located at the town common.” 

Also returning are events that were introduced in 2020, including a pumpkin decorating contest with prizes. Pumpkins will be displayed on the grounds of MetroWest Painting and Contracting.

Another returning 2020 activity is the Applefest Restaurant Weekend. Participating eateries will be listed in the festival’s promotional material.

More activities are expected to be added, Gillespie noted.

“We plan on having a tremendous number of events for everyone to enjoy,” she vowed.

Northborough honoree

The committee also plans to honor a resident as the 2021 Applefest Grand Marshal. Nominations for the honoree are being accepted through Thursday, July 15. Send email nominations and Applefest information requests to [email protected].

Find frequent updates for the 31st annual Applefest at northboroughapplefest.com.