Cottrel: Apple Butter Festival an important part of living in Enon

Festival attendees take a turn at stirring one of the giant kettles of apple butter cooking over an open fire at the Enon Apple Butter Festival Saturday. People took turns stirring the apple butter as it cooked throughout the day. Once the apple butter is finished cooking, its quickly canned and sold to the long line of people waiting. This year's festival will be held on Oct. 9 and 10. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Festival attendees take a turn at stirring one of the giant kettles of apple butter cooking over an open fire at the Enon Apple Butter Festival Saturday. People took turns stirring the apple butter as it cooked throughout the day. Once the apple butter is finished cooking, its quickly canned and sold to the long line of people waiting. This year's festival will be held on Oct. 9 and 10. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Red apples have been Enon’s signature symbol since the first settlers were surprised by mature apple trees growing on the Enon Mound. The migrating Latter Day Saints led by Joseph Smith even noted the apple trees on the mound as they passed by in the 1830′s on their way west.

No one knows who planted those first trees. Did Johnny Appleseed take a walk in our area or did the seeds in a discarded apple core take root. All we know is that the apple trees were on the Adena mound waiting to be used and greatly appreciated in those early days.

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To use up the abundance of apples on the mound, which was public ground, the Enon Apple Butter Festival was started more than 42 years ago. It is an important part of living in Enon.

Unlike the Heritage of Flight Festival in New Carlisle last week, the Enon Apple Butter Festival is quiet and almost reflective.

This year, the festival falls on Oct. 9 and 10, the second weekend of October. It takes place in the middle of Enon within view of the water tower with the big red apple. Just follow the red apples painted on the streets to get there.

Since autumn can get a little too busy, the Enon Apple Butter Festival helps to put it all in perspective. The Apple Butter Festival bids us to savor the season, the harvest, the community and the friendships.

It is important to remind visitors that no dogs are allowed at the Apple Butter Festival. It’s been that way for years and contributes to the ease of getting around.

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Stirring the apple butter is almost cathartic. The constant stirring of the apple butter in the huge copper kettles by wooden paddles has a calming effect. The community members take turns stirring in one hour shifts. The hands and feet are busy but the mind has time to analyze and reflect.

It seems to me that “Stay Calm and Stir the Apple Butter” would make a perfect T-shirt for the festival.

Those running for office often take a one hour shift and end up having conversations with community members. It is a great time to see how a candidate really feels about an issue.

Early in the morning the first of six 50-gallon copper kettles are filled with the makings of apple butter. Don’t ask for the recipe. It’s a big secret. Stirred over an open fire for hours, the apple butter eventually is canned in new glass canning jars. Purchases are limited to two pints each day.

As always it is best to get in line early to insure that you get your apple butter this year. I’ve heard that some consider the jars of apple butter to be the perfect hostess gifts during the Thanksgiving season.

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Now apple butter is not the only food available for sale. Oh no. This festival is known for special foods like the homemade pies at the Knob Prairie Church booth. The Methodists always have their wonderfully warming bean soup and corn bread.

At another area pork chops are grilled while you wait. Watching the handmade apple dumplings bobbing as they cook in a big kettle over the fire makes everyone’s mouths water. The homemade chicken and noodles is a favorite.

Various groups and clubs use this festival to have fundraisers. The VFW cootie corn is for many the last fresh corn on the cob for the season.

There are walking tacos, baked potatoes and brats in various forms, and such a great variety of food booths and trucks so that there will be something tasty for everyone in the family. It’s always nice to find a table in the front yard of the old school to enjoy the feasts while visiting with neighbors or old classmates.

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The scores of craft booths that line Xenia Drive are great places to start Christmas shopping. These are carefully selected for quality and uniqueness. They are not the same thing over and over. Specifically designed items with Greenon logos are always popular.

The Enon Historical Society is only a short walk away from the festival and next to the Enon Adena Mound. It will be open with displays.

If you have never walked around the mound this is the perfect time to read the historical sign and take a stroll around a local landmark that was here before the first settlers and before the Shawnee moved to this area.

Opening ceremonies are at 10 a.m. on Saturday and feature music by the Greenon Band and choir. The festival ends at 6 p.m. on Saturday and opens again on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. It’s all over at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The best part is the next morning when we all start having homemade apple butter on our toast. Yum.