FORESTVILLE - As summer winds down, village residents wonder if the change in seasons will bring a fall favorite this year - the Apple Festival.
Despite a brief, two-year hiatus and unfounded concerns regarding the fate of Forestville's 25-year tradition, the Apple Festival is slated to resume in 2010, with anticipated improvements, following capital project construction at Forestville Central School.
"It's all been put on hold for two years," Apple Festival Chairman Art Dolce explained. "... All the stuff that I do every year has been canceled (during the hiatus). That doesn't mean the festival's canceled (for good)."
OBSERVER Photo by Frank Besse
The Forestville Apple Festival will continue following a two-year hiatus to allow for construction at Forestville Central School.
Originally, the festival - scheduled for Oct. 4 and 5 - was canceled due to construction expected to be under way at the school building where festivities generally take place. However, there was some debate during a recent Forestville Village Board meeting about whether or not Dolce was interested in hosting the festival any longer.
Although Jeanne Polisoto said Dolce only canceled because he was under the impression the festival was unfeasible this year, school board Vice President Carol Woodward said he seemed disinterested in continuing the festival altogether.
In a phone interview Thursday, Dolce assured residents the Apple Festival is only canceled temporarily in consideration of the district's upcoming capital project. He said the temporary cancellation was announced the previous year, and explained he made the decision clear to everyone who asked.
Since the meeting, Dolce said he also met with village officials to clarify the matter further.
"I've been doing this for a long time, so I would never just up and (end) it," Dolce said. "If the occasion did arise where I did give this up, there would be a public notice and a sort of changing of the guards ... I want it to continue and I will never give this up until it's time to give it up. As long as I'm able and people are with me, we'll do it."
During the village board meeting, Woodward said construction for the district's capital project isn't expected to begin now until after the dates for the Apple Festival. She asked village officials, on behalf of several interested residents, if it was possible to host the Apple Festival this year.
"We were wondering about the possibility of putting the Apple Festival on," Woodward said, "... seeing if there was any community support or interest."
Woodward didn't say whether the festival, if it was hosted this year, would be held at the school or somewhere else.
Although Dolce said Thursday he wouldn't mind a group of residents hosting a substitute festival in place of the Apple Festival this year, he felt a last-minute Apple Festival would tarnish its reputation as a well-organized, well-attended event. All advertising, annual vendors and other attractions were canceled ahead of time in anticipation of construction, Dolce explained, and said he felt it was too late to begin planning and organizing.
"I don't mind if they have a festival, but it's not the Apple Festival," he said. "... I would rather not have a festival than have a flop."
Following construction, Dolce said he would like to see the Apple Festival changed slightly, and enhanced to take advantage of improvements to the school buildings. He said he has already begun discussing the matter with village and district officials for when the festival resumes, including potential usage of school facilities such as the auditorium for movies for youth while parents browse craft booths.
"We're going to come back to a better set of circumstances as far as the building goes," he explained. "... There will be different avenues open for the festival."
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