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Norton Cider Festival marking 25th year with calendar change

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Norton resident Don Cunningham works the Norton Lions Club cider booth at a past Norton Cider Festival.
Photo: Scott Horstman
NORTON — It’s the 25th anniversary for the Norton Cider Festival, and organizers made a big change to mark the occasion.

“Our goal was to make it bigger and better and more appealing to the community,” said chairperson Vicky Wallace. “The big thing we did for that was to move it to October in hopes it would bring us a variety of vendors. That moved us away from the [Akron] Marathon and Mum Fest, so we’re trying to open that weekend up to more people.”

The festival will take place Oct. 4 from 5 to 10 p.m., Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A complete schedule of events and details is at www.nortonciderfestival.com.

Most activities will take place at Columbia Woods Park, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive, where the festival was moved a few years ago.

Before the festival, Wallace said community members can be involved with two events taking place Sept. 22. Tryouts for the Norton Idol and Cider Festival Royalty competitions will take place that day at 1 p.m. at the Norton Community Center at the park. For details, go to the website.

Norton Idol contestants will perform at the festival’s opening ceremony on the evening of Oct. 4 and again Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. Also, the festival court will be announced during the opening ceremony.

The opening event Oct. 4 will also feature once again a tribute to Hometown Heroes, an event that has become popular the last couple of years, according to Wallace.

“We encourage kids or anybody to nominate someone here in Norton who has touched their lives one way or another,” Wallace said. “It’s been really touching. We’ve had principals and secretaries and dads and moms. It’s been a really fun event.”

Nomination forms are available on the website.

The following day, the event will kick off with the annual Boy Scouts Pancake Breakfast at Norton Primary School. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Grace Church and wind its way to the park.

Wallace said at 2 p.m. that day there will be a tribute to prisoners of war and those missing in action with the traveling POW/MIA wall.

On both Oct. 5 and 6, the festival will feature a variety of crafters and food vendors, as well as contests and activities, including The Magical Train and inflatables for children.

Cider and apple-related foods and treats also will be a big part of the event. The Norton Lions again will offer cider for sale and other vendors and groups will feature favorites such as apple fritters, caramel apple chips and apple cider floats.

The Norton Lions will be honored as parade marshals, Wallace said, because of the group’s longtime involvement in the festival, especially member Blake Miller.

“He has been instrumental in everything,” she said.

On Oct. 6, Wallace said the festival will welcome back the Magic Cruisers Car Club Classic Car Show from 1 to 4 p.m. Those interested in registering their cars to participate may do so between noon and 2 p.m. for $5. Awards and a 50-50 drawing will take place at 3:30 p.m.

That day also will feature festival favorites and contests, such as the popular Outhouse Stuffing Contest.

The festival was first held in 1989 and organized by the Loyal Oak Merchants Association with the Lions Club. It took place for many years in the Loyal Oak section of town on South Cleveland-Massillon Road near the historic Knecht Cider Mill. The festival moved to Columbia Woods Park for its 20th year.

For additional information on the Cider Festival, call Wallace at 330-825-4967.

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