Bridgeville ready for 21st annual Apple-Scrapple Festival, Oct. 12-13

By Lynn R. Parks

Bridgeville's iconic event, the Apple-Scrapple Festival, will be held for the 21st time this year. For more than two decades, the town has set aside the second week of October to celebrate Bridgeville and life in the small western Sussex town.

This year's festival will be Oct. 12 and 13. The Apple-Scrapple banner is already up over Market Street and the second-by-second counter on the festival website shows that fans have just a little more than a week to wait for the opening ceremonies.

The festival does several things for the community, organizers say. First, it draws attention to the area's agricultural roots. Both apples and scrapple are produced in town and T.S. Smith and Sons orchards and packing house, founded in 1907, and Rapa Scrapple, founded in 1924, are major sponsors of the festival.

Second, it offers a venue for local service groups to make money. Kiwanis and Lions clubs chapters sell oyster and scrapple sandwiches and the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department sells barbecued beef sandwiches. School groups and churches also get in on the action and the three-day carnival benefits the Bridgeville Public Library.

"Festival goers can walk through the town and visit our hundreds of vendors knowing that the funds raised through these events help our local clubs, civic organizations, churches, non-profits, and school groups," said chairwoman Karen Johnson, who took over the reins from longtime chairwoman Bonnie Workman at the end of last year's festival. "Supporting our community, celebrating our local agri-businesses and promoting tourism in Western Sussex is the mission of the Apple Scrapple Festival."

Apple Scrapple also brings crowds of people to Bridgeville, a small town with a population of about 1,600. In 1992, the first year of the festival, about 2,500 people came to town to see the sights. Recent crowds have been estimated at around 30,000.

"Our festival is an event that has something for everyone is a relaxing atmosphere," said Johnson. Attractions include "our delicious food court and free entertainment," she added.

This year, the festival has 39 sponsors, up from 28 last year. "We appreciate our community members and businesses that contribute to make our festival a success," Johnson said.

Chances to compete

With its scrapple carving and scrapple throwing contests, the Apple-Scrapple Festival has always been a place where the competitive could show off their prowess and win a medal or two. Back again after its debut last year is a baking contest, sponsored by T.S. Smith and Sons.

Rules for the baking contest require that the entries be made from fresh apples. Entries can be be delivered to the Bridgeville Fire Hall between 9 a.m. and noon on Friday, Oct. 14. Entries can also be taken to the Smiths stand in Easton on Wednesday, Oct. 10, between 8 and 10 a.m.

For details and a registration form, visit the farm's website, www.tssmithandsons.com. The winners will be announced Friday afternoon, at 4:30, on the festival's main stage behind the Bridgeville Fire Hall.

The festival lineup will also include the Ladies' Skillet Toss, a competition that was added to the mix a couple of years ago. In the Skillet Toss, women and women only will vie to see which one of them can throw an 8-inch iron skillet the farthest. In its inaugural year, the winner threw the 3 and -pound frying pan more than 60 feet.

The contest will get underway Saturday at 1 p.m. in the field behind Woodbridge High School. Registration will start at noon. To sign up early, visit the festival website, www.applescrapple.com.

One of the festival's signature events, Scrapple Chunkin', will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. in the high school field. Registration will start at 2 p.m. Participants will compete for awards by throwing packages of scrapple – 2 pounds or 5 pounds, depending on the class – as far as they can. There are four categories, adult male, adult female, youth male and youth females, and prizes and medals will be awarded.

Area heads of government will hold their own scrapple throwing contest, the Mayor's Scrapple Sling. Mayors, presidents of council and members of the Sussex County Council will compete for the title "King of Sling." The event will take place Saturday at the festival's main stage, starting at 2 p.m.

Another signature event, the scrapple carving contest, will be held at 11 a.m. at the main stage area.

Contestants will be given a 1-pound block of scrapple and limited time to create the best work of art they can.

For the more traditional competitors, the festival will feature a good old-fashioned 5K run. The run, which could very well be the world's only Hogg Jogg, will start at 9 a.m. at the Woodbridge Athletic Field just outside town. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. Cost to run is $10 and prizes will be awarded to top finishers in each age group.

Things get underway Friday afternoon

The festival will get into full swing at 4 p.m. Friday, when the juried food court, centered on Delaware Avenue and Cannon Street, and the carnival, set up along the railroad, open. And yes, that is a juried food court. Anyone wanting to set up a food booth has to submit for judgment descriptions of the food that will be for sale as well as pictures of the food booth.

An entertainment stage will be set up in the parking lot behind the fire hall. The announcement of the apple baking contest results will be made at 4:30 p.m. and the official opening ceremony will be held at 6 p.m.

At 7 on Friday evening, the Little Miss Apple-Scrapple Pageant will be held on the festival's entertainment stage. The $25 entry fee will benefit the Apple-Scrapple Scholarship Fund.

The pageant is open to girls who live in the Woodbridge School District who are between the ages of 5 to 8. The girls are judged on their answers during an interview, their performance in the talent portion and their appearance in a party dress. A street dance will follow the pageant, with music by Mike Warren from Just Kidding Around Entertainment and the Skinny Leg Pete Band.

Activities get underway bright and early Saturday morning with an all-you-can-eat breakfast at Union United Methodist Church, sponsored by the United Methodist Men. The men will be serving breakfast from 7 until 11 a.m. On the menu, of course, will be scrapple.

At 9 a.m., at the same time that runners in the Hogg Jogg are taking off, main festival activities will get into full swing. The food court and carnival will open, as will the car show, sponsored by the Southern Delaware Street Rod Association. Hundreds of street rods, antique and classic cars, new cars, trucks and motorcycles will be parked along Delaware Avenue. Judging of the vehicles will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. and awards will be handed out at the stage area at 3:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, T.S. Smith and Sons will welcome members of the public to its packing house as well as to its apple orchards. The farm will host puppet shows, a cider press demonstration, bluegrass music by Flat Land Drive, antique farm machinery, farm tours, helicopter rides, wagon rides and you-pick apples. Photographer Kevin Fleming will be on hand with copies of his books.

The festival will feature three craft shows. The St. Mary's Church Craft Show, sponsored by St. Mary's Episcopal Church, will take place Saturday in the church on William Street. The Bridgeville Senior Center's craft show will be held in front of the center on Market Street. And the Trinity Craft Show, sponsored by Trinity United Methodist Church, will be held in the Woodbridge High School on Saturday. Vendors will be set up in the cafeteria, the gymnasium and in hallways and classrooms as well as in the high school yard.

The annual Apple-Scrapple Trade Show will be set up at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Laws Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals as well as businesses will show off their wares and services.

The Health and Safety Fair will take place throughout the day Saturday in the fire hall, with displays from organizations such as the Division of Family Services, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Department of Public Health and the Alzheimer's Association.

Throughout Saturday, the stage in the fire hall parking lot will be the center for Apple-Scrapple entertainment. The United Project Band will perform from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The appropriately named Scrapple Creek Band will be on the stage from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. and the Mari Hill Band will play from noon to 1:45 p.m.

Following the Scrapple Sling, the Delmarva Star finals will take place on the stage from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. Then the Sticky Situation Band will play until 5:15 p.m., followed by Swamp Candy, which will play until 6:30. Laurel's own Bo Dickerson Band will play from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.

And finally, for the street dance that will close out the 21st annual Apple Scrapple Festival, the Twenty One Horses Band will take the stage. The band will play from 8 to 10 p.m.

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