In 1834, Joseph Smith led Zion’s Camp on the dusty road between Springfield and Dayton on their way west.
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As Smith wrote in his travel journal on May 16, “…we came through the woods, and saw a large farm, and there near the road on our left, was a mound sixty feet high, containing human bones. The mound was covered with apple trees, and surrounded with oat fields, the ground being level for some distance around.”
No one knows who planted those original apple trees on the Enon Adena mound. It could have been the settlers who had arrived in the area 35 years before. Or perhaps Johnny Appleseed did it on one of his treks through this region. Or did those trees grow from discarded apple cores left behind by a frontiersman or French fur trapper. Nothing has been found yet to answer these questions.
Regardless of who planted the original trees, these fruitful trees provided food to those who settled in this region.
By 1978 one tree still remained on the mound which was public land and the Enon Community Historical Society (ECHS) decided to make apple butter from the bushels of apples. The apple butter making in a huge copper kettle became a fundraiser for the organization.
Today, 40 years later, that original tree is gone, but the making of apple butter has grown into an Enon tradition and the annual Enon Apple Butter Festival.
Each day of the festival, six huge copper kettles full of apple butter will cook over wood fires. The first kettle will be started while it is still dark and all day members of the community will take their turn stirring the apple butter with large wooden paddles.
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Once the apple butter is of the desired thickness the apple butter will be taken to a tent where the local delicacy will be canned in glass mason jars and sold to the public.
The festival that grew up around this tradition attracts thousands of visitors to the village every October. For many, searching the nearly 100 craft tents is their first shopping for Christmas gifts.
The food booths have a tasty variety of old favorite recipes like bean soup and corn bread, chicken and noodles, homemade pies, funnel cakes, corn on the cob, grilled pork chops or fresh handmade apple fritters. There are also a lot of yummy modern food choices too. Since there are too many to sample in just one day, I guess that is why there are two days of the Apple Butter Festival.
“This is the perfect opportunity for the community to support the local Greenon schools,” said Apple Butter Festival chairperson Jessi Devore.
Opening ceremonies, she explained, will feature the Greenon band and choir. Many different school groups like cheerleaders, athletic boosters, band, choir etc will have fundraisers including food booths.
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School board members will be on hand to share the plans for the new school which will be built where Indian Valley School now stands. They will also be there to answer questions about the school levy coming up for a vote soon.
The Mike Berry Research Library and Enon 1840 Log House next to the mound will be open during the festival.
A 5K race sprints through town on Sunday morning beginning at 9 a.m. It seems so appropriate that the route takes the runners around the mound, which started all this.
The cooler weather predicted this weekend should be a pleasant change for us all and make the stirring of the apple butter kettles over the open wood fires all the more pleasant.
Do stop by the kettles in front of Enon Elementary and ask if they need help. You might get a chance to stir a bit and become a part of this story.