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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Cider Festival brings sweet fun to Norton

9/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Lifelong Norton resident Don Cunningham works the Norton Lions Club cider booth at last year’s Norton Cider Festival.
Photo: Scott Horstman
NORTON — This weekend’s Norton Cider Festival marks the 24th year for the annual community event.

And while this year’s event is yet to happen, organizers are already setting their sights on next year’s 25th anniversary, said festival chair Vicky Wallace.

“We’re not even past this year and we’re ready to start booking the 25th,” Wallace said. “We’re giving vendors a break if they sign up for the 25th.”

This year’s festival was renamed the John P. Moss Memorial Cider Festival in honor of the recently deceased city community development director. It will take place at Columbia Woods Park, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive, with three days of activities — Sept. 28 from 5 to 10 p.m., Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Events will begin Friday night with opening ceremonies that include the naming of the winners of the Royalty Contest and Norton Idol performing contest. Parade marshals will be introduced and Hometown Heroes — Norton residents who were nominated for their selfless acts — will be honored. The evening will conclude with an outdoor showing of “Puss in Boots.”

On Sept. 29, the day will start at 7 a.m. at Norton Primary School with the annual pancake breakfast to benefit Boy Scout Troop No. 132. A bike decorating contest will take place at 9 a.m. at Grace Church, where units will line up for the 10 a.m. parade. The route will run from the church to the festival site.

Entertainment will take place throughout the day from acts such as Zobapago, Tim Longfellow, First Class Vinnie and the Clams. There also will be an apple decorating contest. Saturday night will end with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

The Sept. 30 program will begin with the annual Norton Kiwanis Bike Ride, with distances of 10 or 25 miles or 100 kilometers. Registration will be from 7:45 to 10 a.m. at the Medicine Shoppe, 3300 Greenwich Road.

At the festival, ice carvers from The University of Akron will show off their skills from 1 to 4 p.m. Norton Idol contestants will perform at 1 p.m., followed by Bluegrass 409.

The festival will come to a close after one of its traditional events, outhouse stuffing, at 4 p.m.

A petting zoo, inflatables and the Magical Train will be open for children throughout the festival, with tickets available at the event.

Wallace said this year’s event will feature more crafters than in previous years. Also, more apple-based offerings will be available to eat, such as cinnamon apple chips and apple sorbet, in addition to apple cider for sale.

Parking is available at Norton High School, and shuttle buses will provide transportation.

Wallace said about 10 residents are helping to get the festival organized this year.

“We’re trying to get more people to get involved,” she said. “We’ve got some new members, and they have some good ideas.”

Next year, for the 25th anniversary, organizers already have decided to move the festival back a week into the first weekend of October.

“We wanted to get away from the Akron Marathon and conflicts like the [Barberton] Mum Fest and Yankee Peddler [Festival],” Wallace said. “We’re going to try it.”

Wallace also reminded residents that a reverse raffle is planned for April 20, 2013, to help raise funds for the 25th year of the festival.

For details, call Wallace at 330-825-4967 or go to www.nortonciderfestival.com.

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