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Gays Mills Apple Festival enjoyed by all
apple festival
Putting the apples back in the Apple Festival parade proved popular with the younger set who were already inundated with candy treats. After all, who doesnt like a nice red apple on a hot day in fall? These kids were all about it. Here, Rolling Ground owner Dan McCormick and his grandson stop in front of the reviewing stand to pass out fruit. They werent the only ones Sunrise and Turkey Ridge Orchards also passed out apples to the crowd.

GAYS MILLS - It is ironic that in the stories in the previous issue about the 2017 apple crop, some growers commented that the “unseasonably cool weather” had slowed down the harvest.

With heat records being set across the area for Friday-Sunday, Sept. 22-24, we can assume that the apple harvest will proceed apace.

It’s definitely ironic that some of the hottest days of summer were actually the first three days of fall. The high in La Crosse of 95 degrees on Friday, Sept. 22 beat the old record high of 94 degrees set in 1895; on Saturday, Sept. 23, the record high was 94, shattering the old record of 91 set in 1891; on Sunday, Sept. 24, it cooled down to only 93 degrees, beating the record of 92 set in 1891.

It was a day for records with the hottest Apple Festival, the hottest-ever home game in Lambeau, and Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers beating the Cincinnati Bengals and winning a game in overtime, both for the first time ever.

Just too darn hot

To the surprise of no one, consensus of Main Street merchants about the 2017 Apple Festival was, “it was too darn hot.”

Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz was named, along with his wife Marla, to be the ‘2017 Apple Ambassadors.’ When he wasn’t riding in a car, all shined up, waving at the crowd, Heisz could be seen out in the streets working tirelessly to help make the festival another success.

“It was a great honor and privilege for Marla and I to help our community in the role of Apple Ambassador,” said Heisz. “But then again, there’s a lot of other people that do just as much or more to help make this festival a success.”

Heisz said that because of the heat, he estimates the crowd this year was about two-thirds its normal size.

“Overall the vendors seemed happy with the event,” Heisz said. “Some did really well, and others not so well, but that is true of most years. Generally, though, it was pretty miserable for anyone that had to spend the whole day standing in the hot sun.”

Heisz agreed that the village has a great shot at good weather for the 2018 festival, since the last time before 2017 that it was so hot on the last full weekend of September was in the early 1890s.

Merchants and vendors

“It was a great weekend,” said John Leland, co-owner of J&Js on Main with his wife Justina. “It was very hot, but we had a decent crowd, and our early estimates that our sales were about the same as for 2016.”

Leland said that while the bar still sold more beer than water, sales of bottled water were off the charts.

“People were coming in and buying 10 bottles of water at a crack,” said Leland.

Joe Brandt, owner of the Village Greenhouse, seemed happy to have sold through his chrysanthemums, but thought the crowd size may have been a little down because of the extreme temperatures.

“It was too darn hot,” said Brandt, “but at least we didn’t have a flood or an earthquake! It could have been worse.”

Run/Walk results

The Apple Festival five- and two-mile run/walk occurred early in the day on Saturday, Sept. 23, and arguably, enjoyed some of the coolest weather to be had over the weekend. While the runners no doubt felt the heat, most crossed the finish line with a smile on their face.

The race was coordinated with vast assistance by Mike Allbaugh and members of the North Crawford Cross Country Team.

The overall Female Five-Mile Winner was Jenelle Glasbrenner, with a time of 35:45. In the Two-Mile Run, the winner was Jodi Bradley, with a time of 13:49.

Female  five-mile

Fourteen and Under

1.     Natalie Weight

2.     Delaney Johnson

3.     Elizabeth Wright

Ages 15-19

1.     Rachel Ceren

Ages 20-29

1.     Beth Brown

2.     Cierra Pruitt

3.     Bobbijo Wild

Ages 30-39

1.     Laura Bell

2.     Jada Hruba

3.     Laurie Wild

Ages 40-49

1.     Kate Borzick

2.     Lydia Biba

Ages 50-59

1.     Jill Ceren

2.     Bernata Bartells

3.     Ann Boland

Age 60-69

1. Annette Biggin

Female  two-mile

Fourteen and Under

1.     Haddie Showen

2.     Caitie Clark

3.     Halie Berrera

Ages 15-19

1.     Hailey Nelson

2.     Faith Krause

3.     Kylie Heisz

Ages 20-29

1.     Quin Lyons

2.     Kari King

3.     Megan Hamgartner

Ages 30-39

1.     Katie Showen

2.     Dawn Moser

3.     Danielle Strank

Ages 40-49

1.     Wendy Lyons

2.     Jennifer Clark

3.     Sue Fiadhammer

Ages 50-59

1.     Lisa Magis

2.     Pat Welch

The overall Male Five Mile Winner was Zeus Arreguin, with a time of 30:48. In the Two Mile Run, the winner was Nate Fogo, with a time of 11:29.

Male  five-mile

Fourteen and Under

1.     Chase Baumeister

Ages 20-29

1.     Grant Dull

2.     Riley Mort

Ages 30-39

1.     Adam Kipiniak

2.     Lee Coleman

3.     Tom Wiedenfield

Ages 40-49

1.     Greg Borzice

2.     Mike Clark

Ages 50-59

1.     Mark Wolfman

2.     Tom Gainor

3.     Dan O’Donnell

Male  two-mile

Fourteen and Under

1.     Jaxon Strank

2.     Jayden Glassbrenner

3.     Jerrin Glasssbrenner

Ages 15-19

1.     Everett Labudda

Ages 20-29

1.     Joe Doty

2.     Jarrod Sainor

Ages 30-39

1.     Alex Hangatrer

2.     Martin Spicer

3.     Tim Biba

Ages 40-49

1.     Tom Franklin

2.     Tim McGrath

3.     John Palacios

Ages 50-59

1.     Shayne Labudda


Great Apple Race

Not to be confused with the run/walk that many Apple Festival go’ers chose to participate in, the Great Apple Race was a race for apples floated down the Kickapoo River from the bridge by the dam.

Risha Murray led the charge in resurrecting this fine old Apple Festival tradition, and is already planning to make it bigger and better for the 2018 festival.

Assisted by her husband and oldest son, Kevin  and Seamus Murray, Risha Murray oversaw the dumping of the apples marked with numbers that had been pre-sold at 3/$5. The top three winners of the event would take home the entire pot collected.

The lucky owners of the winning apples were first place Sharon Murphy (#289), $67.50; second place Maura Otis (#235), $40.50; third place Apple Ambassador Marla Heisz (#242), $27.