50th annual Hollis Apple Festival celebrates harvest

Courtesy photo A local apple farm is shown. The 50th annual Hollis Apple Festival is set for 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1 at the Hollis town center.

HOLLIS – This classic New England town is known for its local produce. Signs at the town lines announce “Welcome to Hollis – An Agricultural Community” or “A Right to Farm Town.” Every fall for 50 years an apple festival has been organized to celebrate the apple harvest, enjoy a Town Band performance and create community. The event is hosted in the historic Hollis town center, which is adjacent to fields of plentiful apple trees.

This year the 50th annual Apple Festival and Town Band Concert is Sunday, Oct. 1 from 2-4 p.m. at the Hollis town center. The first recorded festival was in 1967. It has grown to be a widely attended family fun event with apple lovers from Hollis and many surrounding towns. The festival concept originated with the Hollis Town Band. Having the hopes of increasing concert attendance band members added food to the performance. Using the harvested apples, a traditional small farm town celebration was born.

Initially all the apples were purchased from Brookdale Fruit Farms, a local orchard. Lull Farm didn’t exist at the time. Adults and children joined forces to core, peel and slice apples. Band member families committed to bake two pies from scratch. Those who weren’t bakers were instructed by experienced pie makers. All pies were made from fresh ingredients in individual homes. Over time the band committee added apple crisp to the menu. They borrowed 9-by-13 baking pans and baked the crisps in a local church kitchen. The offerings were well received.

Today, the Hollis Woman’s Club oversees the food production of the festival. The desserts continue to be created from scratch. Unlike its origins, HWC members receive fresh apples already peeled, cored and sliced. The club makes 50 pans of apple crisps, which is equivalent to 160 pounds of apples! The band members still contribute two pies each numbering over 80 pies.

The menu now includes apple crisp and apple pie slices plus Doc Davis vanilla ice cream. There are whole apple pies and crisps for sale and Lull Farm apple cider, hot coffee and water. In addition to the apple offerings the festival includes face painting, games and artists/senders displaying their wares. It is a family fun event with something for everyone!

To accommodate the growing attendance, increased handicapped-parking will be provided in front of the Hollis Social library, directly behind the library and 8 behind the library on the church cemetery side of the lot. Additional parking is at Valicente’s field, the HBMS lot and HBHS parking area. In case of rain the Apple Festival will be held in the Hollis Middle School.

The Hollis Woman’s Club and Hollis Town Band invite you to celebrate the fall apple harvest with them. Hope to see you there!