Sample freshly made ciders and apple-centric cuisine, listen to live music and enjoy the crisp autumn breeze at Dover’s Apple Harvest Day on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The gates open at 9 a.m., and the event will feature vendors, five stages with live entertainment, and “Orchard Alley” with kids’ activities and various food options lining Central Avenue.

The Apple Harvest 5K will precede the festivities starting at 8:30 a.m. and will begin on River Street.

The day-long festival now enters its 34th year and is expecting upward of 50,000 visitors.

“It started just on Central Ave. downtown … with around 10 vendors and now today it has grown to about 400 vendors. [There are] pony rides, a roaming train, we have animal exhibits, we have tons of food vendors, so it is super popular,” said Morgan Faustino, community events manager of the Dover Chamber of Commerce.

Apple Harvest Day has turned into the largest fall craft festival in the Seacoast and will begin at the top of Third Street, where vendors will be lining both sides of the road.

“We go all the way down Central Ave. where we have vendors along Second Street for the first time, and we have First Street, which is our Auto Alley,” said Faustino. “They’ll have all kinds of muscle cars, monster trucks — it’s a gear head’s paradise.”

The festival will continue down to Henry Law Ave. and will cap off at Henry Law Park, where there will be food vendors, and the Wentworth-Douglass Kid Zone, which will have inflatables, pony rides, a roaming train and more kid-friendly activities. Of the various vendors, many are opting to stick with the apple theme, said Faustino, including fan favorites such as King Tut’s and their fresh pressed cider, and Harvey’s apple crisp.
With the growth of the annual celebration reaching its maximum in regard to physical land size availability, said Faustino, the challenge that comes with bringing guests back year after year comes not with quantity but rather with quality.

“We have little room to grow in terms of a footprint, so we are trying to focus on the festival itself, to make the quality of the festival even better than it already has been. We do that by having vendors that make people want to come back year after year,” he said. “There are people that come back every year because it always has something new and because it has something for everybody.”

Specialty booths will be set at various locations along the route and include a K-9 Chaos Doggy Refresher station and a cell phone charging station. Blue Dolphin Screen Print and Embroidery will have an apparel tent that will be selling merchandise with proceeds going to charity, Faustino said. Along with the food vendors at various locations along the streets, two food courts can be found at Third Street and Henry Law Park.

“Dover is unique in that it has some urban feel as well as a small-town feel. Apple Harvest Day is a way to get the best of both worlds and get everybody together,” said Faustino. “It’s a great time of year because summer is starting to turn into fall, it’s not too hot, and it’s just a fun day to bring the family down and enjoy some of the foods, see all the crafters and the fun games and rides.”
Visit dovernh.org/apple-harvest-day

— Andrew Clay

Featured photo courtesy of Morgan Faustino.

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