HAMPTON FALLS – Those who have not had a chance to pick apples or that perfect jack-o’-lantern pumpkin will be pleased to know Applecrest Farm and Orchards will continue celebrating the harvest season through Nov. 1.
A three-day fall Columbus Day Weekend Festival is slated for this weekend, on Oct. 10, 11 and 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
“It’s the perfect thing to do,” said Todd Wagner of Applecrest. “There is an excellent crop of apples this year that will continue (into) November. Visitors can pick their own apples and pumpkins every day during the week.”
On the weekends, Wagner said, visitors will enjoy “tractor shuttles into the orchards” for “pick-your-own” festivities.
In preparation for harvest, his most hectic time of year, Wagner said he wakes up well before dawn and is still busy at 10 or 11 at night, working roughly 100 hours per week.
“My wife has coined a term, ‘Harvest Widow,'” Wagner said. “Once the third week of September comes around, all bets are off.”
On Sunday, Oct. 4, autumn-lovers enjoyed the fruits of the Applecrest crew’s labor: pumpkins, apples and cider doughnuts, hotdogs, corn, scarecrow-making, music from the White Mountain Blue Grass band, tractors, hayrides and a petting zoo.
Little Evan Stamper, 6 months, enjoyed his first-ever fall festival with mother Jillian Stamper, grandmother, Laurie Andersen of Wakefield, Mass., and great-grandmother, Mary Fitzgerald of Chattanooga, Tenn.
“We’ve been to one before and it was so good,” said Andersen.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, were the large pumpkins in front of the White Mountain Bluegrass band’s stage. Wagner said it took approximately six people to move each pumpkin.
“They probably weigh 400 pounds each,” Wagner said. “There is nothing more cumbersome than those pumpkins. You just can’t wrap yourself around them.”
One young visitor, Leo Carbonell of Brooklyn, N.Y., who enjoyed the afternoon with his aunt, Mercedes Carbonell of Exeter, was particularly fond of the large pumpkins, playing in the pile as he danced and sang to the music on Sunday afternoon.
“For a child (who is) in love with tractors and is learning to come into his running legs, for a child who is beginning to eat apples and who has recently stated that his favorite color is orange, the Applecrest Harvest Fair (is) an incredible treat,” Mercedes said.
According to Carbonell, Wagner was particularly generous with her nephew when he “saw the excitement in Leo’s eyes.” The Applecrest owner picked the boy up and let him honk the horn on his John Deere tractor.
“Leo was amazed, in awe and wonder,” Carbonell said.
For more information on Applecrest’s Harvest Festivals and the Storybook Hayrides, which will run on Oct. 24 and 25, as well as Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visit the farm’s new Web site at www.applecrest.com.