Manton Apple Festival
● By Kerri Regan
The Big AppleSeptember 2014
By Kerri Regan
In the Manton Apple Festival’s early years, folks would gather in Kay Zimmerman’s kitchen to make 30 pies. But like a well-tended apple tree, the event has sunk its roots into the community and flourished. “We did 180 pies last year,” says Zimmerman, who has lived in Manton for 25 years. “We do it all at the grange hall over two days now.”
The event began as a small apple harvest fair in 1992, and has evolved into a North State mainstay, which draws more than 4,000 people to this 700-resident town. Organizers pride themselves in providing a venue for high quality, artisan-created art, crafts and food products.
Naturally, the star of the show is the apple. Guests can find plenty of apple-themed products, locally grown apples and tasty treats that feature apples.
Proceeds from booth rentals and pie booth sales support a variety of Manton organizations and scholarships to support the educational goals of Manton-area students.
“It was started originally to help the local apple growers up in this area have a place to sell their apples,” Zimmerman says. “That’s still a focus, although there are not as many apple growers as there were then. As the years went by and we started making a little bit of money, we started scholarships for graduating seniors who were from this area. Almost all the money we make goes to those scholarships or other youth activities in the area.”
Scholarships have benefited students who have gone to community colleges, Chico State University, University of the Pacific and more. “Some of the kids, because they come from a small area, don’t have the ability to get a lot of scholarships,” she says.
Spread out over the grass at Manton Elementary School, the festival features a giant tent with entertainment underneath, along with about 100 booths where people sell food and handmade items. Guests can buy apple pies, either whole or by the slice, from festival organizers.
Vendors usually have about 700 pies for sale, and they’re always gone by day’s end, Zimmerman says. A pie baking contest and a children’s pie-eating contest also promise to be popular.
And it’s a lovely excuse for people to take a leisurely drive to the country.
“It’s a very small community, but a really tight-knit community,” Zimmerman says. “When people need something, everybody comes out and helps out. Even though you might not see these people on a daily basis, when there’s a need, we get together.”
Manton Apple Festival • Manton Elementary School, Forward Road
Oct. 4, 9 am to 4 pm • Free admission and parking