The Stow Historical Society is celebrating the start of autumn with its annual Harvest Festival, an event highlighted by the tasty tradition of cooking apple butter over a wood-fueled fire.
The festival — set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at — will also feature plenty of craft vendors, food, musical entertainment and tours of the society’s three historic buildings on the property.
Since the stirring of apple butter has long been considered a social affair, visitors are invited to take turns wielding a wooden paddle at the copper kettle during the hours-long cooking process.
Bob Flower, a historical society trustee, said apple butter will be made during both days of this year’s festival. That’s because the Houston Morgan family of Stow has grown to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren that are willing to help out.
The Morgan family, whose recipe is used to make the apple butter, has led the process since the very first Harvest Festival, which has been held annually for the last 25 to 30 years.
The apple butter mixture must be stirred constantly for five to six hours until it is smooth, thick and brown – it’s not a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth," he said.
“Volunteers can just walk up and whoever is stirring will relinquish [the wooden paddle] to you without any hassle,” Flower said with a laugh. “The technique for making apple butter requires muscle power and perseverance.”
The end result of each batch will be about 100 jars of apple butter that will be sold by the historical society. Apple butter also will be sold by Cooper’s Mill of Bucyrus, which is supplying the ingredients for the batches to be made during the festival.
Hungry festival-goers can head inside the Heritage Barn, where hot dogs, bratwursts, sloppy joes, pie and ice cream and a variety of beverages will be for sale.
Also for sale in the barn will be raffle tickets — five for $1 — for a refinished wooden chair. All proceeds will benefit the historical society.
More than 20 craft vendors will be selling their wares both inside the barn and under a large tent outside. Outdoor vendor spaces are still available through Flower at 330-688-5888.
He said there will be several jewelry vendors, as well as crafters selling homemade candles and soap, handcrafted wooden toys, handmade wearable items, birdhouses, lawn ornaments and Native American flutes. The owners of Sweet Criations of Hudson will have some of their alpacas on site and will be selling alpaca sweaters.
Festival entertainment will include Matt Schaffer performing 1930s and ’40s music from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. both days, and The Spoon Man, Dave Henterly of Cuyahoga Falls, performing washboard and spoons tunes from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Members of the Chair Caners of Cuyahoga Falls will be demonstrating their art inside the Heritage House Museum, which will be open for tours along with the Mary Starr House and Darrow House.
The festival is a fundraiser for the historical society. Parking is free, as is the festival.