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By J.R. Brower

On Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3, residents from all over Western Pennsylvania visited the 37th annual Hickory Apple Festival.  The event was held at the Mt. Pleasant Volunteer Fire Company’s parking lot and field along Route 50. The festival was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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The Hickory Apple Festival again turned out thousands of guests from all over the area.
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According to the rules of the pie-eating event, contestants had to completely consume small apple pies within a minute. Different age brackets competed competitively until an overall winner was declared.
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Pie-eating contest moderator, Jessie Merckle appears to be having more fun than the contestants.
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The overall winner of the pie-eating contest was 13-year-old Elliot Stiteler from Pleasant Hills.

Each day of the event began with a pancake breakfast, and apple pie-eating contests were held later in the morning. Crowd-pleasing items to take home included locally grown bags of apples, pies, dumplings, apple butter, cider, breads and the always popular country-style bean soup.

Food was available in the upper lot, and there were more than a hundred crafters selling items in the field below. Saturday’s entertainment included the Fort Cherry High School Band and the popular country rock band, Ruff Creek.  Other activities included pony rides, a petting zoo, clown shows, chainsaw sculpting, blacksmithing, basket weaving, rope making and old-fashioned thread spinning.

Co-chairs of the festival, which took many months of pre-planning, were Ashley Clark and Jessie Merckle, who was in charge of the fun filled Pie-Eating Contest.

Many community volunteers participated, handling parking and traffic, cooking and serving food as well as running the displays to assure that attendees had the best time possible, and the public consensus was that the 2021 Hickory Apple Festival was a huge success! (J.R. Brower photos)

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