NEWFANE – Bring your appetites to the annual Apple Blossom Festival, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday, presented by the Town of Newfane Historical Society.
The free festival, which will be held on the society’s museum grounds at West Creek and Ide roads, promises something for all ages.
The festival boasts Art Gladow’s chicken chowder, beef on weck, pies and cotton candy, but it’s also known for its homemade apple butter and apple cake.
Rose Schaeffer said she is known as the “Apple Butter Lady,” a name she has had for the past decade.
Dressed in period gear, she will start cooking in a “huge copper kettle over an open fire very early in the morning, and by 10 a.m. or noon, it’ll be ready. We serve it hot, and we also serve hot apple cake.”
Schaeffer said her granddaughters, Brianna and Mia Rafferty, 9 and 7, respectively, will join her for the first time this year, and they also will be properly dressed in Civil War period re-enactors’ outfits that she made just for them.
Schaeffer and her husband, Craig, and their daughters, Mindy and Melissa, have long been active in “living history” demonstrations, and they all serve as Historical Society officers. Craig has been very active with the Civil War encampment on the museum grounds, which now includes 11 buildings, all replicas of buildings that would have been found in 1864.
The encampment is host to the 151st New York State Voluntary Infantry and 22nd Invalid Corps, representing wounded soldiers.
The Schaeffers hope festivalgoers will take a few minutes to visit the encampment and see the re-enactors in action.
“The men will show how they lived during camp life,” Schaeffer said. “They’ll show how they cooked for themselves and how they did repairs. They’ll have drills. And the soldiers will do the flag ceremony with the Boy Scouts, where they march up to the flag pole near West Creek Road at noon and then back down to the encampment.”
She explained that the men meet year-round at the encampment to camp and build things.
“Each building has its own working wood-burning fireplace,” she said. “They had a small event there this past winter, with men coming from as far as Virginia. This coming winter, they’ll have a big event [with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War], and men will come from all over for it.”
The museum grounds feature relocated and refurbished Civil War-era buildings, including the original Burt Post Office, which soldiers use as part of their events. Other buildings include a one-room schoolhouse, country store, blacksmith shop and barbershop.
A refurbished working 1926 letterpress joined the lineup of attractions a little more than a year ago. Demonstrations and displays are featured throughout the grounds during the festival.
The festival also includes music – the Barroom Buzzards from 1 to 3 p.m., with the Hot Country Liners dancing group at 1. WLVL will broadcast live from noon to 3.
The festival always offers a flea market and plenty of free parking.
In addition, there will be guided tours the Van Horn Mansion at 2165 Lockport-Olcott Road, Burt, from 1 to 4 p.m.
The festival is a major fundraiser for the society, which uses the proceeds to help maintain its buildings on the festival site as well as for the renovation of the Van Horn Mansion.