Grand Rapids preps for apple butter bonanzaWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
Downtown Grand Rapids will host the annual Apple Butter Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10.
Steve Kryder’s farm hosts the “Big Stir” two weeks before the festival to prepare 1,500 pints of apple butter. The day of the festival, Kryder and a team of volunteers make 1,000 pints on site in massive kettles. Apple butter requires three steps: boiling cider into a concentrate, peeling the apples and then cooking the two together. Kryder said he gets his apples from an orchard in Delta and the cider from an orchard in Wauseon.
“We put the apple butter on sale at 10 a.m. and it’s gone by noon,” Kryder said. “There’s a standing line of several hundred people, and never any of it left.”
According to Kryder, typically between 30,000 and 40,000 people attend the festival, depending on the weather.
“You can hardly beat them away with a stick,” Kryder said.
The event features farm exhibits, crafts, bratwurst and steel kettle bean soup. Festivities begin the night before on Oct. 9 when re-enactors set up camp along the Miami-Erie Canal.
During the day Oct. 10, military and colonial life re-enactors will showcase the history of the Maumee Valley. The festival includes live entertainment with gospel, jazz, classic rock and bluegrass bands performing all day. The Pride of Toledo Barbershop Quartet will walk the tow path and downtown between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The event is free except for the $8 parking fee. The fee defrays the cost of event security and the free trolley service that shuttles visitors from the parking lot to the event site. Handicap accommodations are available. Leashed dogs are welcome.
For more information, visit www.applebutterfest.org.