DOVER, N.H. (AP) — With fall in the air, the weather could not have been better for the 35th annual Apple Harvest Day Saturday and, if the crowds were any indication, residents agreed.

The event opened with the annual 5K race, and then Mayor Karen Weston and Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce President Margaret Joyce took the ceremonial first bites of the season's apple crop.

The race was great," said state Sen. David Watters, D-Dover. "The route was different this year and ran through a community trail. It was a great way to kick off this event."

"What a change this day is compared to the sidewalk sales we remember starting with," Weston said. "This entire event is community-based and we hope everyone has a great day."

Joyce thanked the mayor for allowing the chamber to "take over the downtown" for the 35th year.

"I hope everyone enjoys the vendors and the good food," Joyce said.

The vendors were a mix of retail, community, health and nonprofit groups from around the Seacoast.

Many booths offered fresh apple products, including Harvey's Bakery. They were the purveyors of all thing's apple, including apple crisp, apple doughnuts, crumb cake, caramel apples, apple crumb muffins, apple crumb pie and apple cider.

"This is our second year taking part," said Emmett Soldati, owner of Teatotaller in Somersworth. "Last year, we sold out of doughnuts in a couple of hours."

Animals are welcome at the Apple Harvest Festival and so are pet vendors. At K9 Kaos, dogs were taking part in the traditional games of bobbing for apples, with a twist. Canines were enthusiastically bobbing for "weiners."

"We always come to this event," said Becky Degnon, day care manager at K9 Kaos. "We wanted to find something fun that the dogs would also like."

Many local health care facilities were represented, including Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Convenient MD, Portsmouth Regional Hospital and various chiropractors, and alternative medicine practitioners.

"We are happy to be here to support the chamber," said Lynn Robbins, a spokesperson for Portsmouth Regional Hospital. "We love coming to this event and feeling like a part of the community."

At the Garrison Players booth, visitors could enter for drawing for tickets to upcoming shows, including an escape room experience, where people will try to escape from a theater, said Keren Bernard-Kriesl, who was manning the booth.

With an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 visitors, planning for the event is a huge and rarely seen part of making the day a success. One of those loyal planners is Donna Rinaldi, a Dover chamber member. She has been helping coordinate volunteers for the event for all 35 years.

"When this began, it was just the downtown merchants putting things on," Rinaldi said. "My husband Phil and I had several businesses over the years, and we were always involved with the chamber. Phil is a native of Dover. I moved here in high school. At different points over the years, each of us has chaired the chamber."

Rinaldi has been the sole volunteer coordinator for Apple Harvest Festival for the past 12 years, responsible for all the behind the scenes details that make the event run smoothly.

"We start early in the morning helping the vendors set up," Rinaldi said. "I have about 100 volunteers, some from the ROTC and some from Dover Interact. They check the vendors into their spots and help them unload their cars. The vendors love our volunteers."

Joyce said there were about 300 vendors at the event.

"I would be remiss if I didn't say thanks to all the people involved in making this event happen," she said. "The chamber and the city are integral parts and work closely together. The city oversees things like parking, police and fire services. We have so many volunteers. We have great sponsors who help us to be able to keep the event free to visitors.

"We have people like Morgan Faustino, our community events manager, a person who is absolutely unflappable and keeps us all on track. Even the weather cooperated. It's a perfect day."

Online: https://bit.ly/2nt7TDT

———

Information from: Foster's Daily Democrat, http://www.fosters.com

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recommended for you

Load comments