A group of about 30 members and friends of the Crossroads Church of God of Prophesy in White Bluff were hard at work last week preparing for the 12th annual Apple Butter Festival.

The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the pavilion at the church.

The evening crew was a mix of young people and middle-aged congregants who were busy preparing the apples to be processed for slow cooking last weekend. 

“We have a table here for coring the apples, another for paring and peeling and getting rid of bad spots,” Crossroads Pastor Gary Riley said. “Then we take them in for washing, and after that we send them through a meat grinder that makes it’s all easier to cook down.”

Riley said volunteers had already peeled, cooked and canned 60 bushels of apples into apple butter. Riley said that on the Saturday before the festival, two 40-gallon kettles, equipped with motorized paddles, were scheduled to be fired up at 5:00 a.m. 

“It’ll take about nine to 10 hours of cooking time,” he said, noting that before the use of the motorized paddles it would take as long as 14 hours. 

Riley said that when the cooking is finished, there will be an assembly line of about 15 people putting the apple butter into pint jars, applying lids and adding a label.

“We’ll get about 75 to 78 gallons of apple butter which will fill up about 600 to 700 pint jars,” Riley said. “We’ll add a little bit sugar and clove and cinnamon.”

Riley said that for many years the event was just selling apple butter but it expanded 12 years ago by adding vendors.

Kathy Groves, who was washing the apples, said that she has been a part of the apple butter processing for 15 years.

“The fellowship is the best of part,” she said with a smile.

Jayden Hayes, who was coring some apples, said that interacting with others to organize the festival was enjoyable as well as having a hand in making the apple butter recipients happy.

The event will feature booths in the pavilion which include a baked goods booth, apple butter booth, hamburger, hot dogs, barbecue pork and barbecue chicken (available in plates or by the pound), and pork rinds.

Riley emphasized the importance of a family atmosphere for the event that will include activities for all ages.

“There will be a bounce house, a playground, and kids’ games,” he said. “We’re looking to have antique farm equipment, and some outside vendors set up.”

There will be live gospel bluegrass music performed by The FretHoppers. The Claylick Volunteer Fire Department is scheduled to provide safety training.

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APPLE BUTTER FESTIVAL

When: Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Crossroads Church, 1002 Claylick Rd. in White Bluff.

On sale: Apple butter will be on sale at $6 a pint or $72 for a case of 12 pints.

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