Since it’s humble beginning in 1967 Apple Butter Makin’ Days located in Mt. Vernon MO., celebrated 43 years this last weekend with more than 50,000 visitors making their way to the town square. With close to 400 vendors that had come from all over the country to sell their handmade items there was certainly enough to see over the three day event. From homemade jewelry to tropical fish made out of coconuts to Fall and Christmas decor this was defiantly the place to be for those of us who love to shop. On Saturday the crowd gathers for the annual Apple Butter Makin’ Days parade, afterwards things swing into action with a car show and live entertainment from area performers. The main attraction that has kept this festival growing over the years is the apple butter that is made each year on the courthouse lawn.
After a cold and rainy Friday the sun was a welcomed sight on Saturday as the temperature made it’s way into the lower 50’s. By the noon hour the weather was perfect for the spectators as well as the vendors. Before the sun had even started to rise the members of the Round Grove Church were making apple butter. The apple butter pictured above, cooks in these large kettles for 8 hours. While there are several people that make apple butter the group believes it is the wood smoke from an open fire that gives their apple butter such a unique flavor. Ground cinnamon, sugar or Splenda and red hot candies make up the rest of the recipe. It is then dipped out of the kettles and poured directly into mason jars. Once the lids are placed on the jars the heat causes the lids to seal. Then the jars are transported to a tent directly in front of the cooking area and can be purchased immediately. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the gentlemen who was stationed at one of the three kettles and he said that their butter is so popular that they bring 11 hundred pounds just to start with. I can see why because this stuff is delicious!
As we made our way around the square we stopped for a moment to listen to Mark Chapman as he performed before a large audience.
I had the opportunity to stop and visit with some of the vendors. I visited with one of the local vendors, Linda Bruenn of Linda’s Crafts from Joplin MO, who has been a part of the Apple Butter Makin’ Days for the past 15 years. She was kind enough to allow us to take a picture of her booth.
The day seemed to be flying by and suddenly I realized that it was way past lunchtime. The one thing we knew well in advance was where to eat because the Cattlemen’s Association has built a reputation around their steak sandwiches. The long lines well past the lunch hour sums it up.
Did someone say homemade root beer? One word…awesome!
As we made our way back to the car, I could not wait to get home and go through all of the goodies I had purchased. This was such a great way to begin my Christmas shopping. My calendar is already marked for the second weekend in October and for those of you who live close to Mt. Vernon I would highly recommend making plans to attend next year.