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PHOTOS: The 58th Annual Apple Butter Festival brings together Oxford and Miami communities

A falconer shows the bird to onlookers.
A falconer shows the bird to onlookers.

The cool, crisp fall air finally arrived this weekend after days of hot weather. It scattered fallen leaves across the ground, carried sounds of laughter and perfumed the air with the smell of spiced apples and funnel cake at the 58th Annual Apple Butter Festival on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Over the past three years, Mindy Limore, a senior zoology major at Miami University, and her mother, Timi Limore, have attended the festival together. Limore said she appreciates that the Oxford community has activities for her and her mom to participate in on Miami’s Family Weekend since her parents can only drive up once a year.

“It’s really fun that she gets to come up, and we get to spend quality time doing fun stuff like this,” Limore said. 

The mother-daughter duo made their rounds at the pop-up shops, stopping to get Timi Limore’s favorite sweet treat at the festival: an apple caramel shakeup. Every year, vendors come to the Apple Butter Festival to sell their products. From local honey to handmade jewelry, each tent has something unique to offer customers.

Under one small white tent, Sarah Miller, a former board member of the Oxford Museum Association (OMA), made funnel cakes, which she’s done at the festival for 30 years. Her weathered hands poured the cake mixture into a small vat of hot oil as she talked over the chatter and live music.

“I love it,” Miller said. “It’s fun to see people I don’t normally get to see.”

Across from the tent, children and parents gathered around a man holding an alpaca. After petting the animal, one girl looked back and smiled wide at her mother.

Micheal Case, director of the OMA, said he couldn’t have asked for a better day to have the festival.

“We are having a great response out here,” Case said. “Our parking lots are full, and the weather is everything we could have asked for. Fall just suddenly came in on the heels of the Apple Butter Festival.”

Besides the vendors, the entire festival is run by volunteers from the Oxford and Miami communities.

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“We have a large pool [of volunteers] that we pull from Oxford and, oftentimes, Miami students because Miami students are lovely, and they come and help sell things like our apples,” Case said.

Miller said the revenue gained from the festival helps the OMA pay for the upkeep of Doty Homestead and continue to provide fun activities for families. In the spring, the organization hosts an arts and crafts fair on the property, and in the summer, they have pioneer-themed events, like learning how to churn butter and painting hand fans.

Two little girls stood in front of the funnel cake tent clutching onto their father’s legs and looking at Miller as she methodically poured the mixture into the fryer.

“Sarah, this is their first funnel cake ever so make it extra good,” one volunteer said, motioning to the girls.