A three-weekend AppleJack Festival worked so well last year that organizers are taking the same approach for 2021.
The 53rd annual event in Nebraska City starts this weekend, followed by events Sept. 25-26, and Oct. 2-3.
“We had reports of great success from businesses and orchards,” said Tammy Partsch, tourism and promotions coordinator for Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce. “They had a much higher economic year than they thought they would.
"COVID kind of made us spread it out, and it ended up being a really good thing.”
Organizers opted for the three-weekend format last year to prevent large crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, the festival has drawn 60,000 to 80,000 people.
Partsch said with weather predicted to be sunny and warm this weekend, big crowds are expected even with the new format. Attendees will find plenty to do.
The traditional parade, flea market, craft fairs, carnival and car show will be held Saturday and Sunday. The Nebraska City Extreme Bull Riding Tour kicks off the weekend Friday.
Cheri Becerra Madsen, who just won a bronze and silver medal in track and field at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, will be the grand marshal for the Saturday afternoon parade.
“The Taste of AppleJack” is the theme for Sept. 25-26. A downtown food truck street fair is scheduled, along with an “All Things Apple” recipe contest, held in the historic barns at Arbor Day Farm.
The third weekend, Oct. 2-3, will be “AppleJack at the Home of Arbor Day” and coincides with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission 100th anniversary celebration at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. It was the first historical park opened by Game and Parks.
The apple orchards at Arbor Day Farm, Kimmel Orchard and Wostrel Family’s Union Orchard are all open for the season.
“I was out in the orchard last weekend. The apples are ready to go,” Partsch said.
Masks are recommended but not required. Some businesses may ask that they be worn.
Go to nebraskacity.com/festivals to see a complete listing of events.
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