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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Chris Kempf, left, and Matt Elrod stir giant pots of caramel corn Sunday afternoon for hungry attendees at the 44th annual Johnny Appleseed Festival at Johnny Appleseed Park.

  • Barbara Ruden demonstrates Sunday how textiles were made before the Industrial Revolution.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Bob Hart demonstrates various songs on his Hammered Dulcimer Sunday afternoon during the Johnny Appleseed Festival at Johnny Appleseed Park.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Matt Elrod stirs a giant pot of caramel corn for the Johnny Appleseed Festival Sunday afternoon at Johnny Appleseed Park.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Cameron Mooney puts his daughter April on his shoulders Sunday afternoon so she can see the Johnny Appleseed Festival over the large crowd of people at Johnny Appleseed Park.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Joshua Sunday dumps caramel corn from the pot into a tub held by Samual Sunday during the Johnny Appleseed Festival Sunday afternoon at Johnny Appleseed Park.

Monday, September 17, 2018 1:00 am

'We've had a wonderful time here'

44th Appleseed comes to close

Music, food, shopping attract visitors

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Homemade wares, pioneer games and food aplenty vied for attention Sunday at the 44th annual Johnny Appleseed Festival, but nothing quite stilled the bustling crowds as a performance by the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes and Drums.

The musicians' march stopped people in their tracks, and many whipped out smartphones to capture the moment.

Sheila Galbreath understood the reaction to the “beautiful sound of the pipes,” she said, describing it as something worth stopping and listening to.

The Logansport woman trailed behind the band, which included her drummer husband and drummer daughter, who joined this year. Her sons are also learning the instruments, she said.

This marked Galbreath's first visit to the Johnny Appleseed Festival, and she said she was struck by its size.

The sprawling festival grounds featured more than 200 booths offering entertainment and chances to shop, dine and play.

The 80-degree heat didn't keep anyone away. The grounds teemed with people even in the final hour, the smell of food and fire in the air.

Regular Johnny Appleseed festivalgoers were quick to name their favorite aspect.

“Apple dumplings,” Taylor Ewing of Fort Wayne said without hesitation.

Meanwhile, she said, her children, ages 9 and 10, favor candle dipping.

“They begged me to come over here and do it,” Ewing said, sitting on a straw bale as the children dipped wicks into pots of wax over open fire.

Nearby, Connor Sheridan called attention to a booth selling wooden toy weapons – rifles, swords and – the most popular – crossbows and bows and arrows. Children – mostly boys – swarmed to the items, and Sheridan was quick to demonstrate proper technique.

“If you don't hit it in five shots, you've got to keep practicing,” he told a new owner of a bow and arrow.

Along with indulging in food, Joy Ottah appreciates the festival for its historical aspects, she said as she waited for her 5- and 8-year-olds to finish an activity in the children's area.

A short walk away, the audience at the weekend's final Dan Barth's Old Time Medicine Show got a proper goodbye.

“We've had a wonderful time here, folks,” the entertainer said. “Have fun, enjoy yourself and we'll see you down the road.”

asloboda@jg.net