Monday, October 13, 2014

Why I Love the Apple Butter Festival


Beautiful Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, hosts an annual fall festival where the community pours into the streets to make, of all things, a delicious blend of locally grown apples and well, sugar.  Joined by travelers from around the country to stir the mysterious golden blend of goodness, apple butter is cooked in enormous kettles over a blazing old time fire.


I was nine years old when the Apple Butter Festival began as a fall event to bring tourism to my artsy little "home among the hills".  Now, my youngest Hott child is also nine.


Now it's Monday morning and our purchase of a pint of apple butter is nearly empty from a weekend of sharing it's ooooey sweetness on everything from wheat toast, warm bread, bagels, and yes, even bananas!

Throughout the 41 years of celebrating old town traditions from stirring apple butter, turtle races, parade, crafts, funnel cakes, and egg tosses, we always treasure the times we are priveledged to share the Apple Butter experience with our "newbies" -- or, first time participants!  This year was no exception.  And, it is always my honor to show all who ride to Apple Butter breakfast at First United Methodist at a ridiculous 7:00 a.m. and those who venture back to my house after a long day of festivities the above picture.

See that old guy?  Well, that's my Pap!

Pap Pap, or otherwise known as Marlin McBee LOVED the Apple Butter Festival.  He would stay down town all weekend sportin' his favorite hat and stirrin' the huge kettles till he was nearly 90 years old.  I was delighted to share the Apple Butter Festival Memory Book 25th Anniversary Edition with our new family members once again this year.  Pap managed to make the glossy cover as well as a few other featured photographs, even with then Governor Arch Moore!  Cousins and kids in the family are featured in turtle race memories as well.

From my Pappy at 90 to Levi at 9.....Tradition.

Tradition.  I guess among all the crazy things that have evolved over the years at the Apple Butter Festival, from beard contests to hog hollering, one thing always stays the same -- Columbus Day weekend I can roam around my home town and always find an old friend from 40 years ago.  As we stop along Fairfax Street and reminise about old high school days and farting brothers, it is always fun to see the new traditions developing as well.  We catch up on the latest babies being born; accomplishments of our children; share family stories.  And, for some reason, it never fails, my crazy family manages to provide updates for the Apple Butter Festival Turtle Race.  Want to know what happened?  Find a Hott/McBee!  Because likely, they were all there.

It's a tradition.

2014 "newbie" Rob with Crystal, Grandma, PapPap (Bobbie McBee) Isaac,
Levi, and Cotton Eyed Joe, a turtle campion!

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, 
either by our spoken word or by our letter."  2 Thessalonians 2:15

Tradition.  That's why I love the Apple Butter Festival.  Tell me, why you love it; or, if you never been before, maybe we'll see you next year and start a new tradition.

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