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Apples, Apples and Apple Butter
Written by Kelly Kalb Correspondent

Forest Detweiler and Wesley Kolb operate a Buckeye cider press from the late 1880s during a hands-on demonstration at the 43rd annual Apple Butter Frolic Oct. 1. Visitors were able to sample the apple cider after taking a turn on the press.

                Farming, food, fun and countless Macintosh apples brought out hundreds of visitors to the 43rd annual Apple Butter Frolic on Oct. 1 at the Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville.

                The 12-acre expanse of land, located on Yoder Road, is home to the heritage center, which is a historical library and museum dedicated to preserving and providing stories about the Mennonite faith.

                For the past 43 years the Frolic provides insight into the lives of Mennonites and their neighbors over the last 100 years through a fall festival offering seminars, videos, music, cooking and craft displays.

                "The Apple Butter Frolic is named for the annual gathering of people on farms once the apples are picked to make apple butter," explained Steven Diehl, director of advancement for the center. Apple butter was just one of many foods available to sample and purchase.

                The frolic offered tractor displays, farming demonstrations, traditional crafts and many PA Dutch food items with several being made on site during the event.

                Farming demonstrations in the cornfield and newly renovated Nyce barn were a hit again this year, teaching traditional plowing and corn binding with horses, as well as flailing and fanning wheat. New at this year's event were harnessing and hitching draft horses demonstrations throughout the day.

                Traditional skills and trades on hand for the nearly seven-hour event allowed children to try their hands at making butter, spinning wool, creating a clay pinch pot and operating a cider press.

                Chris Detweiler of Harleysville explained his experience with the frolic over the last 20 years, "I've been coming here for at least 20 years, when I was a kid. Last year I was an apprentice teaching everyone on how to make apple cider. And I'm here again this year teaching anyone who'll listen on how to use the cider press and try it out."

                Children and adults were allowed to load handfuls of the donated apples from the orchards of Jeff and Jane Rosenberger of Souderton and press them to make cider, which was available for sampling.

                The fall event certainly does allow all ages to enjoy in the fun and can fill any hungry stomach. Whether you have a taste for sweet treats or hearty soups, the frolic does not disappoint in its offerings.

                Apple butter is essential to the gathering, with an opportunity to watch it being made by some folks who have been involved for the last 40 years.

                Bauman Family Fruit Butters and Cider displayed various samplings, which made for easier decisions on what flavors to purchase.

                Regardless of the many reasons to visit the Apple Butter Frolic, visitors are encouraged to come back to the center and participate in workshops, check out the exhibits or do some historical research.

                Proceeds from the Frolic support the Mennonite Heritage Center.

                Anyone interested in more information is asked to visit the center's website at or call 215-256-3020.






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