Bed Races and Big Appetites Score Delight at Apple Harvest Festival

Weather cooperates for daytime festivities - evening fireworks postponed.

Day two held out the promise of fun for the 43rd Annual Apple Harvest Festival and although cloudy, the weather remained rain-free and delivered good times for the afternoon.

Fritters and pie-eating contests had youngsters gobbling up the sweet, doughy apple delights as fast as they could chew and swallow all in the name of competition and tradition.

During the bed races, Robin Ozga addressed the crowd and spoke of her love for son Joseph Ozga, whose recent death was visibly painful for friends gathered there. The fellow classmates and friends organized a memorial to Joseph by releasing balloons inscribed with thoughts and prayers.

The bed races along Main Street held an audience captive as people lined up along every vantage point - "Keep your feet off the street" was the operative mantra repeatedly announced by Leonard Marcheselle, a 42-year Kiwanian who officiated high up from a bucket truck during the bed-racing event.

“Years ago we used to line the streets with bales of hay. If a bed were to lose control, it would go into the bale that served a safety buffer. Now we’re just reminding everyone it’s for their own good to keep the roadway clear. The beds are moving fast and we don’t want anyone to get hurt," said Marcheselle.

Initially eight beds were scheduled to race but three cancelled. Five beds - plus a last minute bed called "Rough Riders" - made six beds in total that ran for the chance to win a first prize $150 Target gift card.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” said spectator Vicky Richardson. Richardson and husband Sterling Richardson watched as some racers lost their footing and stumbled over the cones that were positioned along the racecourse. “The team that came together at the last minute looked like they could’ve used more time to practice.”

“My favorite part of the festival this year is Thai Jasmine’s chicken,” said Edward A. Dabkowski. Edward and his wife Shirley Dabkowski have attended Apple Harvest Festival for over three decades. “Of course the Apple Fritters are always a number one reason to come.”

Another favorite is the apple crisp, made fresh and served warm with ice cream on top. “While I’ve been here many years in the same spot (on the corner of Center St.), this year is my first time as a new business owner,” said Todd Lavigne. “We use local ingredients wherever we go. The McIntosh apples today are from Rogers Orchards, the whipped cream is made especially for us in Wallingford and the ice-cream comes from Praline’s,” said Lavigne. “I believe in supporting local businesses because doing so is self sustaining.”

The fireworks, scheduled for Saturday, were postponed until 9 p.m. on Oct. 8 due to the chance of heavy rains. All live entertainment and carnival events are on as scheduled.

For a complete lineup of events, .


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