Monday, June 23, 2014

N.C. APPLE FESTIVAL -- Modern-day version --

Modern-day version… 
 Apple Festival
September 4.5,6,7 -- 2015

The North Carolina Apple Festival is held annually over Labor Day week-end in Hendersonville. It has been Western North Carolina's Premier Family Festival for over 60 years.

From September 4 to 7, you can enjoy 4 days of fun including one of the best known Street Fairs in the Carolina's with Freshly Picked Apples, Arts & Crafts, Festival Food and free entertainment at the Historic Courthouse on   Hendersonville’s   Beautiful Main Street.

Entertainment is popular


The apple has been called the loveliest of all fruits. It is also one of the most important agricultural crops grown in Henderson County.During a normal year it brings in an average income of $22 Million. Growing apples has been a part of  Henderson County's culture and heritage since the mid 1700's. Today there are approximately 200 apple growers in Henderson County. North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County grows 65% of all apples grown in North Carolina.  

Start your day off with one of the breakfasts and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the excitement of Main Street as well as many other activities across the community. And on Labor Day, you can watch the King Apple Parade!

 From September 4 to 7, you can enjoy 4 days of fun including one of the best known Street Fairs in the Carolinas with Freshly Picked Apples, Arts & Crafts, Festival Food and free entertainment at the Historic Courthouse on Hendersonville’s Beautiful Main Street.

 Welcome the Festival Princess...

Grand Marshall ...Past Presidents 

Children of all ages love to watch... 
The King Apple Parade... 

 Clowns are special 

Pretty girls and kids are too...

Lots and lots of fun things to do.

Diversified entertainment...

Drill team -- paraders...
Please have an apple...
  Just take your pick...

Mayor Barbara Volk -- And Councilmen

More Clowns entertaining...

Special thanks to members of the Camera Club for furnishing many of the images. 
They are Ron Anderson, John Orolin, Judy Tuthill, Joe Bester and Dick Spicka.

·                                 © 2010 North Carolina Apple Festival

Monday, June 9, 2014


Welcome to our Blog post on a very important place in our town

The Henderson County Curb Market has been a local Hendersonville tradition since 1924. What began as a group of farmers bringing their extra produce to town for the “city folk” has expanded over the years to include some of the freshest fruits & vegetables, plants & fresh cut flowers, homemade jams, jellies & baked goods and hand made mountain crafts.

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the Curb Market always has something different. Each vendor brings his specialty items for a unique collection of offerings. Come visit and make new friends while enjoying some of the best that Henderson County has to offer. 

A couple of times a year folks at the Curb Market stage an Old Timey Day.  It's a very special time. There is plenty of good food cooked the old timey way. Ham biscuits, sausage and gravy are prepared on a genuine wood stove. Home made ice cream is offered as an encore. 

There is good country music played -- most times -- by an outstanding local band.  
Demonstrations by local artisans are crowd pleasers -- like the two men "blacksmithing" in the photograph above.  
The photograph above shows many of the vendors who are "regulars" at the Curb Market.  It was made in 2003.  

The photo above represents many of the vendors. It was made in June 2014.  You will notice that some of the folks in the 2003 photo are also present in the 2014 image.  It is a changing scene.

There was a time when one had "to be born into becoming a vendor".
Spaces for selling were passed along from generation to generation.

Hendersonville is fortunate to have the Curb Market as a special attraction for local folks and visitors alike.  It's a special place. 

Local folks support the Curb Market in big numbers year round. 

When special events like Old Timey Day come around, the crowds really swell. The Curb Market has an important spot on almost everyone one's list.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The North Carolina Apple Festival

The North Carolina Apple Festival
By Dave Cooley

The N.C. Apple Festival was created to publicize the Hendersonville Area regionally and nationally, to promote the county’s apple industry as the largest in North Carolina and serve as a vehicle to attract visitors to the area and entertain them.

 Dedicated community activists who had the desire to advertise the town far outside of its borders and to promote Henderson Countys apples to the benefit of the growers and the economy of the area founded it.

I was privileged as a young man to participate in the founding of the Festival in 1947, to first work in it as a volunteer and then to manage it for the six years I served as manager of the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce. First, came the Apple Blossom Festival then the Apple Harvest Festival and finally the North Carolina Apple Festival. In fact, the idea of the town having a festival started in 1937 with the Harvest Festival.

 The Apple Festival  was the effort of a lot of volunteers, government officials and others to “Stick a stob in the ground” – staking out our territory so to speak -- and telling everyone, everywhere that Henderson County is the Apple Capitol of North Carolina – a position it still holds although there are far less apples grown in Henderson County than back in the early days of the Festival.
Here is part of the more than 30 young women from across the state that competed annually for the title of Queen of the North Carolina Apple Festival.

Back then there was a contest for Queen of the Festival that attracted candidates from across the state.  There were alliances with several prominent festivals where the Queen was invited as a guest.  Publicity for the town and the apple industry gained from these alliances as they were usually photographed several times with these images finding their way into newspapers and other periodicals.  They were also interviewed at various gatherings and on radio and television shows.  Upon selection, the Apple Queen was photographed in apple orchards and packinghouses and at several prominent landmarks around the community. A common practice was to send photos to the AP and UP wire services and to daily newspapers in a multi-state region.  It was a time when news outlets welcomed a photograph of a pretty girl in a bathing suit in an apple orchard.

 Then there was the time that Bill Sharpe, editor of The State magazine, took a photograph of Carl Sandburg feeding a goat with a baby bottle.  This image (by count) appeared in 127 newspapers and magazines.  This would not have happened on an average day in the life of Hendersonville.  It happened as a direct result of the NC Apple Festival. The square dance and music competition segment of the Festival drew a large number of square dance teams and string bands from across the region.  It was patterned after the Mountain Dance, a Folk Festival in Asheville that was founded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford and at times it rivaled the Asheville event. 
Here are some of the stars that appeared in the 50's at the Apple Festival.  Left to right - top -- George Hamilton IV and Clyde Moody.  Bottom row -- Left to right -- Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Little Jimmy Dickens and Red Foley.

At least one well-known country music star would headline the event each year.  Several that participated during the early years included Red Foley, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Hamilton IV, Sonny James, Clyde Moody, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
 Usually an hour show was arranged on WHKP Radio, first when the station was affiliated with the Mutual Broadcasting System and later with the ABC network. Hamilton introduced a song at the Festival, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth”, that later became Number one on the country music charts.
Here is a newspaper clipping showing the bus and the Festival Queen, Connemara Farms Square Dance Team and others who went to Chicago for a week as guests of the Rock Island Railroad and the  Chicago Railroad Fair.  The sign on the bus advertises Hendersonville as "The Dancingest Town in America".
 A grand prize of a week at the Chicago Railroad Fair for the Apple Queen, the winning square dance team and the top string band was a highlight of the 1948 square dance and music competition.  Carl Sandburg’s Connemara Farms team was the winner along with Vernon Rogers and his Blue Sky Rangers string band.  Juanita Thompson was the Apple Queen and the youngest to ever be selected.  She was 16 and a rising senior at Dana high school.
 The group was guests of the Rock Island Railroad.  They performed in competition with teams and bands from the Chicago area at the railroad’s pavilion and won the competition.  Prior to these events over the week, the group was welcomed by Chicago Mayor Daley and performed at high noon on a stage in the heart of the famous “Loopin Downtown Chicago.
 This event brought publicity to the community that was priceless.

The person in this photograph is known as the "Hill Billy Snap-shooter"  He goes everywhere.

A popular annual feature was a photo contest that offered cash prizes for published and unpublished photographs.  The NC Press Photographers were always invited and many of them participated including the late Hugh Morton, then owner of Grandfather Mountain. Much publicity came as a result of this popular feature. Morton seamed to take a liking to the festival and was responsible for the attendance of several well known photographers over the years.

 It was common practice to invite the governors of North and South Carolina, congressmen and other governmental officials.  Many of them came. They were always royally entertained and asked to speak at one or more main event.  In addition, luck in attracting nationally prominent personalities came along on occasion.  One year Robert Mitchum was Grand Marshall of the King Apple Parade.  He was in the area filming Thunder Road, a movie about transporting corn liquor that was produced outside of the law in Western North Carolina..
Captain Kangroo (Bob Keeshan) is shown here visiting with David and Ann Cooley back stage at the 1954 N.C. Apple Festival.  He performed on the outdoor stage for three nights. -- BakerBarber Collection Photo by Don Barber

The Chamber had assisted in locating a Gerber Baby Foods plant in the area one year and Festival officials persuaded Gerber to give Captain Kangaroo (Bob Keeshan) to the Festival for three days.  He entertained many children during his appearances. Another year Lee Marvin and Elizabeth Taylor were filming Rain tree County in the area.  They came to the Festival and were involved at several events.  Marvin had performed several summers at what is now the Flat Rock Playhouse.  The Playhouse was located at Lake Summit when he first performed here.

 In the place of today’s Festival Street Carnival, the Festival placed attractive Kiosks on each street corner from Seventh Avenue to Allen Street.  Here apple growers sold their products.  Most all of the stores on Main Street had elaborate apple oriented displays. There were cash prizes for the best displays.  There was a host of young school girls dressed as Daisy Mae who went up and down Main Street selling buttons for a Buck to help support the Festival.

Robert Mitchum served as Grand Marshall of the King Apple Parade in 1955.  He was in the area filming "Thunder Road". The movie was about "Moon-shining"  in Western North Carolina.

 The King Apple Parade was a well planned and staged show – managed by former Police Chief Bill Powers and head of the NC Highway Patrol in the area Bob Quinn. More than once the late Ernie Siler, well known for his Orange Bowl Parade planning and other events in Miami, advised leaders of the Festival on the content and staging of the parade.  He was a frequent visitor to Hendersonville and Camp Pinnacle where he came to visit his good friend the late Van Kussrow, the camp owner.  There were usually 25 or more professionally built floats in the parade and eight to 10 bands from throughout the region.  There were bleachers placed on the right side of Main Street going south from Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue.  Seats sold for a Buck and were always filled.

 The Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce managed the Festival. There was a board of directors and several committees.  The Chamber tracked all of the publicity that the Festival generated.  During the years of the activities and events recalled here, the Chamber managed the W.N.C. Fair and served as secretary/treasurer of the Hendersonville Horse Show, one of the most prominent horse shows in the South at the time. But, the N.C. Apple Festival was the most prominent of all of the community’s major events. We think this is still the case

This photograph shows a portion of the parade that was part of the Henderson County Harvest Festival that had its beginning in the Fall of 1937. -- Photo courtesy of the Baker-Barber Collection.

Just a few years after the Oxen drawn wagon came down Main Street in the first Festival parade, the Fall of 1937 -- this group of proud automobile owners, their ladies decked out in their finest attire marched down Main Street in an updated version of the 1937 event. The starting place is at the corner of Main Street and Allen Street.  The ESSO sign marks the location of Moody Pack's service station.  His son, Frankie, was one of the all-time best athletes at Hendersonville high school.  He played baseball for Berkeley Mills and later played for a time in the Baseball Major League.

These two photographs are of  Joan Sample who became the first queen of the North Carolina Apple Festival in 1947.  It was called the N.C. Apple Blossom Festival that lasted only one year.  In 1948, it became the N.C. Apple Festival and the name continues today. -- Photos by Don Barber -- Courtesy of the Baker-Barber Collection. 

Promotional happenings for the community were many using the Apple Festival Queen as the vehicle for newspaper and magazine placements and coverage in other media outlets.  Here Queen Joan Sample is photographed by Don Barber in an apple orchard.  Upper right she is meeting with the Mayor of Havana, Cuba. along with her chaperon, Alice Andrews. -- Baker-Barber Collection Photos.

Governor Greg Cherry accompanied Apple Queen Joan Sample to the airport where she boarded a plane for Havana, the capitol of Cuba.  There she was met by several dignitaries including the Mayor of Havana.

This is one of the more than 20 professionally built floats that participated in the KING APPLE PARADE --One of the major highlights of the N.C. Apple Festival.  -- Baker-Barber Collection Photo.
WHKP Radio station float

The Hendersonville High School marching band was always front and center in the early days of the Apple Festival at the King Apple Parade on Labor Day.

This is the State Trust Company float.  The two young ladies (left to right) are Martha Crowell, daughter of Judge Crowell and Pat Orr, sister of Thomas Orr, Times-News Columnist.  Pat also was a leading performer at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

The Francis and Wright float passing in front of the Skyland hotel, a popular viewing spot for the King Apple Parade.

Children of all ages love the Clowns -- They were plentiful in the early years and enjoyed participating in the Apple Festival parades.  Background shows the three Barber Brothers businesses.  Town Office Supply (Unk Barber) Barber's Book Store and Camera Shop (Jody Barber) and Barber Photography Studio on the corner of 6th avenue and Main Street (Don Barber)

The news media always came in big numbers especially for the Parade and Beauty Queen Contest.
Two of the folks on the raised platform are Bob Collins, Times-News photographer (with the camera in his hand) and Bob Lindsey (far right) whose family today owns the Highland Lake properties.

The closing feature of a highly successful festival in the 50's was the final street dance of the season -- always held on Main Street between 3rd and 4th avenues.  The tall gentleman about four folks from the end of the line wearing the "White Buck Shoes" is Jody Barber, doing the calling.
Jody was a permanent feature at the street dances until he contacted Polio -- a great loss for the
street dances and the town.  But, Jody's interest continued and he was always on hand to help make things more pleasant and entertaining for the city's guests.

Walter B. Smith was King of the Apple Festival in the Mid-50's.  He won in a "Fruit Jar" election.
This is when fruit jars with the contestant's photo is pasted to the jar and a slit is cut in the lid so that money can be placed in the jar. Smith won by a landslide.  Rumor had it that he "bought several votes" personally. 

Juanita Thompson, a rising senior at Dana High School was named Queen of the North Carolina Apple Festival in 1948. She was one of more than 30 participants from across the state to compete for the title. She is fifth from the left in the photo above.

Here Queen Juanita appears with (left) Bill Freeze, a reporter for the Times-News, and chairman of the Festival beauty contest and (right) G.C. "Buddy" Richardson, president of the Festival Association.  -- Baker-Barber Collection Photo.

Queen Juanita is crowned by North Carolina Senator, Clyde R. Hoey
Baker-Barber Collection Photo by Don Barber

Here Queen Juanita rides in a place of honor in the King Apple Parade on Labor Day.
Members of her court (top row -left to right) Cleta Mae Whitaker, Ralph Jones, Festival King,
ad Joan Sample, retiring Apple Festival Queen. (Bottom row -- left to right) -- Barbara Staton, Kathleen Pack and Ruth Childs.

 A lot of emphasis was placed on the beauty contest and visiting queens from other contests and festivals. The importance of this activity is borne out by the vast amount of publicity the festival and the city received in various media throughout this country and sometimes much further.  Pictured here are (left to right) Miriam Stevenson, the reigning Miss Universe, Miss USA and formerly Miss South Carolina, Mary Susan Keating, Queen of the Duluth,Minnesota Winter Carnival and John Parris, Communications Director of "Unto These Hills" and a columnist for the Asheville Citizen.  This kind of publicity is not for sale.  

 Here you see some of the judges for the Festival Queen Contest, Members of the local press, J.T. Fain, Jr,editor of the Times-News, Mead Parce, Times-News reporter and Leo Wise, Times-News, city editor. Jerry Ball is seated in front of the stage along with Miriam Shell Shelton, the reigning Miss North Carolina. They were judges.  Ball, an executive with Standard Oil Company, had judged contest for several years.
Here is Mayor Al Edwards (far left) Bob Collins, Times-News photographer (two seats to the right from Mayor Edwards and a group of visiting beauties from other festivals and events.

These young ladies perched among bushels of Henderson County Apples and sporting the entrance sign for Blue Ridge School for boys are not identified.  The beautiful young lady sitting on the apples with a crown on her head is obviously the Apple Festival Queen.  The other young ladies are contestants from across North Carolina
Chicago Railroad Fair

On a crisp mid-September afternoon, some 16 square dancers, a five-piece string band, Queen Juanita Thompson, her parents and P.M. Camak, chamber of commerce manager, boarded a bus that would take the group to the “Windy City” for the event of a lifetime. They were to be guest of Rock Island Railroad and compete in a dance contest during the Chicago Railroad Fair.
The bus was decked out with banners heralding Hendersonville as “the dancingest town in America” and proclaiming the fact that its cargo included a square-dance team named for Carl Sandburg, Chicago’s favorite son. Since there were no interstate highways in 1948, the bus headed up U.S. Highway 25, the major thoroughfare that meandered from Michigan to Florida through Hendersonville
Night was setting in when the group stopped in Corbin, Kentucky, at Sanders Court and Café for their evening meal. The owner was Colonel Harlan Sanders, who later founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants. Back then it was the custom for the woman of the family to inspect the room before agreeing to stay for the night. Sanders was ahead of the curve on this one. He had built a model room in his restaurant. Patrons inspecting the room were impressed with the spacious bathroom, carpeted floors and even a pay telephone in the closet
The Congress Hotel, headquarters for the Hendersonville Troupe

The happy group of young folks did not get any sleep from Corbin to Chicago. They talked and sang the night away. The bus arrived at daybreak in front of the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue where the troupe was to be housed. Reporters, photographers, and railroad officials were there to greet the party. Photographers asked Queen Juanita to put on her crown and robe and to pose with several bushels of apples. Still not satisfied, they insisted that the team dance while the band played. Several people stopped to enjoy the show that was literally taking place early morning in the middle of Michigan Avenue

Queen Juanita , bushels of NC apples and square dancers on Michigan Blvd in Chicago
Queen Juanita Thompson

At the beginning of the competition, a band played “Carolina Moon” in recognition of “Hendersonville Days” at the fair. Queen Juanita was crowned again as “Queen of Rock Island Rocket Village.” The Connemara Farms team continued their winning ways. After eliminating all comers, the Hendersonville contingent was named “Fair Champion” at the grand finale. Officials were generous with their praise, saying that the North Carolina delegation had given the Fair and Rock Island Railroad more publicity than they had received since the fair began.
The trip home was more colorful than the trip going because all of the folks were swapping stories and celebrating their memorable experiences in the big city. The adventure was excellent publicity for Hendersonville and its Apple Festival. There were inquiries about the team and the band iand offers to perform for fees. Several offers were accepted. This big-time happening continued to solidify Hendersonville’s reputation as “The Dancingest Town in America,” a title the chamber could never have afforded to buy, but promoted it at every opportunity.

Vernon Rogers and the Blue Sky Rangers, top band in the Apple Festival competition, played for the square dancers twice a day for five days.  The band was well received by the crowds that gathered in the Rock Island Railroad Village Hall where the dance competition was held.
(Left to right) members of the band are Hal Case, Guitar, Tommy McGee, Upright Bass, Richard Jackson, Steel Guitar, Bob Ponder, Guitar and Vernon Rogers, the mistro himself playing the Fiddle.

The fair was planned during the winter and spring of 1948, and scheduled to run between July and August of that summer. Erected on 50 acres,[ the fair opened after six months of planning. The grand opening commenced on July 20 with a parade that featured such spectacles as a military marching band and a replica of a troop train, a contingent of cowboys and Native Americans. The attractions, displays, exhibits and shows were free. Some thirty-nine railroads participated. There were more than twenty equipment manufacturers, and the highly popular contingent from the North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville.
 Native Americans performed every day

The Chicago Railroad was a big-time event and very successful

 Big time events on tap for N.C. Apple Festival

Mark your calendar - August 29 - September 1

Dave Cooley


“If you have information to share about the Baker-Barber Collection photos that appeared in this blog please contact Mark Burdette at the Henderson County Public To see more of the photos in the Baker-Barber Collection please go to the to the collection’s homepage”