The town’s biggest festival, and one of the largest in the state, the Annual Apple Harvest & Music Festival, is back for 2021!
The festival will “make its triumphant return this year” after taking a break in 2020 because of the pandemic, the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event recently proclaimed.
“The CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Glastonbury 46th Annual Apple Harvest & Music Festival will take place at Riverfront Park, 300 Welles St., on October 15, 16 and 17.”
The festival will open on Friday, from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m, and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In keeping with tradition the Angry Orchard 5k Road Race will start at at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Registration for runners opened in June and continues until race day.
“Located at a bend of the Connecticut River, the Apple Harvest Festival and 5K Race has continually been ranked as one of the state’s most popular events. It’s an all-around experience that generations revisit year after year,” according to the chamber.
The festival is the chamber’s signature annual celebration and its major annual fundraising event for the year, says Chip McCabe, chairman of the music festival and director of events for the Hartford Business Improvement District.
"To not have the festival last year was heartbreaking, not just for the town but for the chamber, so we’re all really excited that it’s back this year,” he said.
One of the biggest changes this year is there will be no entrance fee. The chamber opted to waive it and have a $5 cover charge instead for the Harvest Pub. All 16 live acts taking part this year will be housed inside the pub. Anyone under 21 can enter the pub for free as long as they are supervised by an adult.
The pub is sponsored this year by Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale, Chip said.
“It’s a festive new beer that will be served in the pub, which will be bigger than ever this year,” he added.
This year there won’t be a Vendor’s Village because the town is installing pickleball courts at Riverfront Park and during the planning for this year’s festival it was unclear when the work would be done and whether it might interfere with the vendor area.
“We wanted to play it safe and not promise anything we couldn’t deliver,” Chip said.
The vendor village will be back for the 2022 apple festival and better than ever, chamber officials said, “with a new and better layout.”
This year, local nonprofits and community organizations will have a Community Booth area where they can hand out informational materials.
The 2021 apple festival will have the usual full midway of rides and attractions, along with a food truck area.
And, of course, there will be pies, Chip said, but he stressed those who want to buy the locally made treats might want to do so ahead of time as the chamber will begin selling them online before the festival and organizers aren’t sure how many will actually still be available the weekend of the event.
The 18th annual road race starts at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. The race, which attracts thousands of runners from around the country, is a certified course and is flat and fast. This year it will also be digitally chip timed.
Entry fees are $30 for preregistration and $40 the day of the race. Runners and walkers can take part in the race and the registration fee gives participants free access to the Harvest Pub.
"We're expecting lots of fun on the midway, great music in the pub and a great turnout for our annual road race. Everyone's just so happy to have the festival back this year and we're hoping it will be one of our best festivals ever."