Who Started the Hilton Apple Fest?
The Festival was founded in 1981 by Hilton Businessmen Patrick Marlow and Douglas Marple. Homer Marple of Marple Furniture, financed the Festival in its first year
when it was organized by Coordinator, Carol Gursslin with just a handful of volunteers. It was held at Canning Street Square. And yes, there really was a pie the first year! We had approximately 75 craft
booths and five food booths.
The purpose of the Festival was to offer free family entertainment while celebrating the apple harvest season, the Hilton/Parma community, and the local apple growers.
Artists were given a showplace for their handcrafted goods and nonprofit groups of the Hilton Central School District raised funds by selling food.
In 1982, Carol Gursslin was once again the
Coordinator but there were about 200 volunteers and it was held at the Hilton Community Center. Many local businesses provided finances the first five or six years. Organizers brought world attention to
the Hilton area when they attempted to bake the World's Largest Apple Pie. Guinness World Book publishers gave the recognition to English townspeople who, one month earlier, had baked an apple pie in a
larger rectangular pan. In an effort to show the British their sense of humor, Festival planners the next year baked the World's Smallest Apple Pie in a bottle cap.
The Apple Fest currently has approximately 125 craft booths
and 24 food booths. Attendance reaches close to 50,000 people,
most of which ride the shuttle bus to the Community Center.
One of the reasons for its success is the help it receives
from its approximately 300 volunteers. The Hilton Apple Fest
donates an average of $5,000 per year of which some of the
recipients have been Ambulance Corps, Library, Village parks,
Food Shelf, Camp Good Days and Special Times, Historical Society,
Hilton Senior Bash, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, and other
Community Center projects.
At the Apple Fest in 1982 there was an attempt to bake the World's Largest Apple Pie. This pie was 18' in diameter and 18" deep and served hundreds of hungry patrons.
DID YOU KNOW?
• 9 of the 12 1981 Chairpersons still live in the Hilton area. One lives in Florida and the other two are still in NY.
• 110 people have served on the Hilton Apple Fest Board of Directors
•The World Record 18-foot pie pan was used to collect food for the Hilton Food Shelf
• Over $100,000 was donated to Charity during the first 25 years of the Apple Fest
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Hilton Apple Fest
PO Box 1
Hilton, NY 14468
The Hilton Apple Fest is a 501 (C)3 nonprofit organization offering free family entertainment to the community while providing education about, and celebration of, Hilton's rich history, its local apple growers, and the apple harvest season.
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