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Apple Harvest Festival in seen as most important fundraiser of the year

NEWFANE – Hungry for homemade apple butter, pies and cakes or Art Gladow’s Famous chicken chowder? Intrigued by demonstrations of old-fashioned equipment like printing presses and looms?

The Apple Harvest Festival will have all of this and more from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Sunday at the Country Village site, 2685 W. Creek Road.

And, this year, perhaps more than ever, the festival will serve as an important fundraiser for the Newfane Historical Society. The Society is recovering from a tough blow last winter, when brutal weather compromised the roof of its log cabin and damaged a number of historic artifacts stored within.

“The ice was more than an inch thick on the ceiling and anything that had been left out of the cabinets was basically destroyed,” said Rose Schaeffer, society president. “As it melted, it went through the carpeting, through the wood floors and into the basement. We had an antique organ in the basement and everything on it was destroyed except the ivory keys.

“We had to purchase a storage unit to try and save the things that could be saved, but things have mold and will have to be treated before they can be moved back in, when we’re ready,” she added. “We also have to seal the west side walls of the basement.”

Schaeffer called the Apple Harvest Festival one of the biggest fundraisers of the year. “Insurance doesn’t cover everything,” she said, “especially with historic items, because there are a lot of things you can’t put a price on.”

Established in 1975, the Society is celebrating its 40th year.

The free Apple Harvest Festival offers a variety of food, crafts, live performances, historical demonstrations and exhibits, a flea market, a petting zoo, and a tractor and farm equipment show.

Volunteers have worked hard to restore a Newfane Felt Mill loom, as well as old printing presses, and will be on hand to demonstrate.

In addition, decades of working farm equipment will be on display, and visitors also are invited to stop into the society’s one-room schoolhouse, general store, blacksmith shop, Hrvol House Museum and permanent Civil War encampment.

And, the society’s Van Horn Mansion, at 2165 Lockport-Olcott Road, Burt, also will be open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m.

The society also will host Candlelight Tours at the 1800s Victorian Van Horn Mansion from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 and 30-31. Tour admission is $5 and the last tour leaves at 10 p.m. Guests are led by candlelight through the spooky halls and grounds of this reportedly haunted home, while guides recount ghostly legends and eerie stories. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 727-9816 or emailing rose@newfanehistoricalsociety.com.

For information on Society events or to volunteer, visit: www.newfanehistoricalsociety.com.