New Milford is planning its first Apple Festival this fall

Photo of Currie Engel

NEW MILFORD — The town’s first New Milford Apple Festival locked in its dates Monday night during a Parks and Recreation Department meeting.

The board unanimously approved Sept. 25 and 26 for the event.

“We were trying to think of something different, something unique,” said Pat Hembrook, executive secretary to the mayor.

Event planning will be led by Hembroke, who has spent years organizing and running festivals and events throughout New Milford. From Village Fair Days to the Teddy Bear Festival to the local art festival, Hembrook has built a resume for producing townwide events.

“I really needed to make sure I had the date before I could go any further,” Hembrook said on Tuesday.

Residents were disappointed when Village Fair Days was canceled for again this year, and Mayor Pete Bass was looking for another event to bring people downtown. He asked Hembrook for input, and she suggested an apple festival, something she’d always wanted to do in New Milford, Hembrook said.

The apple festival is not meant to replace Village Fair Days — which is expected to return next year — but give residents a chance to celebrate.

“Apple Fest” is still in the early planning phases, but is expected to run from 10 a.m. to about 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on the southern parts of the town green. A carnival along with booths run by local vendors and small businesses are likely. Hembrook hopes to include apple-themed events like an apple pie-eating contest or an apple pie-baking contest.

“Everything would be apple-oriented,” Hembrook said Monday.

Electricity will not be provided, so once it gets dark, booths will have to close for the day.

However, Hembrook said it’s possible Saturday’s schedule could run until 6 p.m. because she is trying to secure a band to come play as it gets dark.

“We have a lot of ifs that are still in the air,” Hembrook said.

But so far, she has been working with the farmer’s market to let them know about the opportunity, and plans to encourage Bank Street businesses to set up on the sidewalks or create promotions for their stores during the event. She is making fliers and creating a social media Facebook strategy to publicize Apple Fest.

In Connecticut, September marks the beginning of apple-harvesting season. With more than 60 varieties grown by farmers across the state, this town festival comes at the right time.

Southington, Monroe, West Haven, and Glastonbury have apple festivals planned for the fall, but this would be the first time an event like this came to the New Milford town green.

This article has been corrected to show the correct spelling for Pat Hembrook’s name. It is Hembrook not Hembroke.