Pennsylvania’s National Apple Harvest Festival is a yearly event held during the first two weekends in October. There are so many fun things to do and see at this festival, from the delicious food to the amazing crafts and vendors.
Last year, a relative invited me to attend the festival. Even though the National Festival is in my home state, I had never attended. So I jumped at the opportunity to check out the festival held in the heart of apple country in scenic Adams County at the South Mountain Fairgrounds in Biglerville. This South Central Pennsylvania festival is just 10 miles northwest of Gettysburg.
We arrived around 10 a.m., and a crowd was already enjoying everything apple.
It’s an excellent opportunity to enjoy the fall weather, eat lots of delicious food, and take in some fun traditions. Here are some of my favorite experiences from last year’s festival.
I was provided free entrance; all opinions are my own.
1. Walk Down An Apple Lane
Before you arrive, be sure to download a map so you can plan your adventure. The streets of the festival are named after apples. You can walk down Macintosh Circle, Jonathan Court, Gala Lane, and Yellow Delicious Boulevard.
2. Drink Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
There are several places where they make fresh pressed apple cider, and you can purchase it by cup, pint, quart, or gallon. There is nothing that says fall like some delicious apple cider.
3. Eat Homemade Apple Dumplings
It is an apple festival, and almost every food stand has something made with apples. The homemade apple dumplings are tasty and, in some cases, still warm out of the oven. I like them warm with the apples sliced inside the dumpling and sweet thick apple syrup over the dumpling. (My mouth is watering!)
4. Taste Apple Treats
Maybe you’re not a dumpling person, or perhaps you are like me and love everything apple. There are other apple treats available. Think apple cake, apple bread, apple cupcakes, apple fritters, apple crisp, apple flavored ice cream, applesauce, apple jelly, apple pancakes, candied apples, apple funnel cakes, and apple butter. I’m sure I have missed something, but you get the idea that there are lots of things available made with apples.
5. Play Some Apple Games
No one will be bored at this festival. There are many apple games for kids and adults to enjoy. They also have face painting, pony rides, etc.
6. Shop For Crafts
Over 300 arts and crafts vendors set up shop at the National Apple Harvest Festival. There is even some apple art. You will surely find the perfect gift or item for your home. Be sure to take some extra cash to splurge.
7. Sip An Apple Cider Slushy
These frozen treats are delicious! They are made with apple cider and whipped into a scintillating treat. Be prepared to wait in line for one of these delightful treats that are especially refreshing on a warm day.
8. Enjoy The Live Entertainment
Entertainment happens both weekends throughout the festival. You can watch an ax-throwing competition, listen to live music, see Native American dancers, puppet shows, square dancing, and more. You can check out the entertainment schedule on their website. You can also watch craftsmen at work as chain saw carvers show off their skills.
9. Purchase Fresh Apples
Different stands throughout the festival sell a variety of freshly picked apples. You can buy a bag or a bushel. My favorite kind of apple is Honeycrisp, and I was able to purchase them at the festival last year.
10. Stroll Through The Antique Cars And Farm Equipment
Each year they have a collection of antique and classic cars and antique farm equipment available to view. I got a hoot out of the farm equipment. It brought back some fun memories of my childhood days on my grandparent’s farm.
11. Take An Orchard Tour
Orchard tours are available throughout each day of the festival. The tours are listed on the entertainment schedule.
12. Taste Some Wine
My favorite was named Alpine Slide wine. They were handing out samples of this, both heated and chilled. I loved them both and ended up not just buying a bottle but a case of this wine to use over the holidays and as gifts.
13. Go For A Hay Ride
Hayrides are offered throughout the day on a wagon pulled by a tractor.
14. Buy Lunch
Other non-apple food items are sold, so you can purchase lunch or dinner and enjoy an apple something for dessert. Some items for sale include ham, sausage, turkey legs, chicken barbecue, French fried sweet potatoes, open pit beef, pork barbecue, french fries, and more.
15. Take A Selfie With An Apple Character
Strolling Apple, Honey Bee, Worm, and Johnny Appleseed characters will be mingling with the crowd and available for photos with kids and the young at heart.
Things To Do Nearby
If you make the trip and still have energy left after attending the National Apple Harvest Festival, you might want to stop at several nearby locations for a bit more fun and adventure.
16. Explore The Round Barn
Just down the road is The Round Barn. It is a barn that is unique: It is completely round. The top floor is an event venue, and the bottom floor is a country store that sells unique gifts, homemade baked goods, fruit, and produce.
17. Roam Mr. Ed’s Elephant Emporium And Candy Store
Mr. Ed’s will bring out the child in everyone. His elephant collection is in the museum and all over the grounds outside the emporium. The candy store has all kinds of old-time goodies as well as popular chocolate treats. You won’t want to miss a quick stop at Mr. Ed’s.
How To Get To The National Apple Harvest Festival
Use your GPS or Google Maps to learn the best route to the National Apple Harvest Festival.
The event Address is 615 Narrows Road, Biglerville, PA 17307. (This is different than the mailing address.)
While driving, you may feel like you are on the wrong road. It is out in the country, and just when you think you maybe should turn around, you need to go a bit further, and you will get there.
Important Information About the National Apple Harvest Festival
- The 2022 National Apple Harvest Festival is scheduled for October 1-2 and 8-9 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. on Sundays.
- Admission tickets can be purchased at the gate or online.
- Your admission ticket includes live entertainment, attractions, exhibits, orchard bus tours, and parking in one of the fields.
- A shuttle bus or wagon will take you to the festival grounds.
- Pets are not permitted, except for service animals.
- No smoking is permitted.
- There is limited cell phone reception at the festival for some providers.
- Limited ADA-accessible parking is available. The vans are wheelchair accessible and stop at marked pickup locations.
- There are no scooter or wheelchair rentals available.
Tips For A Successful Visit To The National Apple Harvest Festival
- The festival is held rain or shine, and there are no refunds.
- When you arrive, be sure to get a map or download a map in advance so you can plan your route throughout the festival and know where restrooms are located.
- Wear sturdy shoes. Roadways and walkways are gravel-covered, grass or pavement, and you will be doing lots of walking.
- Take a quick lap around the festival before you start purchasing, then go back to your favorite vendors for your treasures. Otherwise, you will be carrying things around for quite a while.
- Arrive early in the day for the best parking.
If you’re looking for a fun fall event to attend this year, the National Apple Harvest Festival is the perfect option. There’s something for everyone, from fresh pressed cider and delicious baked goods to unique shopping and fun games. So mark your calendars for the first two weekends in October and visit Pennsylvania to enjoy all things apple.