The Apple Festival on Lincoln Square opened Friday morning and closed at 5 p.m. Sunday. The Junk Ranch and Junk at the Mill, both in Prairie Grove, were held Friday and Saturday only.
Whether it’s the Arkansas Apple Festival, the Junk Ranch or Junk at the Mill, visitors and vendors alike give the same reasons they like the events: the people, the variety of merchandise and the atmosphere.
Jennifer Kincade with the Farmhaus out of Vinita, Okla., was set up as a vendor for the third time at the Junk Ranch.
The three events, plus downtown Prairie Grove, drew thousands of people to western Washington County over the weekend.
Kincade said she participates in about two shows per month, and the Junk Ranch is her only outdoor show. Her booth has seasonal floral decorations and canvas paintings. For the Junk Ranch, her booth is under a tent for extra protection.
“It’s good, it’s a very good show,” Kincade said. “The promoters are amazing and it’s a very good atmosphere for the vendors.”
Another Junk Ranch vendor, Kari Ahlum, also said she likes the Prairie Grove event because of the promoters, Amy Daniels and Julie Spears.
“As a vendor, the promoters of the event are easy to work with and fun to work with,” said Ahlum, who’s business is Holler Home Inc., of Rogers.
Personally, Ahlum said she likes to shop at the Junk Ranch for her store because of the unique items vendors bring to the event. LeAnn Whitmire of Sheridan is a regular customer at the Junk Ranch.
“I just love junkin’ and repurposing stuff and I love the outdoor part of it,” Whitmire said, as she took a break with her husband for a selfie at one of the photo booths set up onsite. Linda Smith of Muldrow, Okla., was at the Junk Ranch for the first time.
“I thought it was nice. There were a lot of vendors and the prices were good,” Smith said. Rhonda Hulse, who chairs the Arkansas Apple Festival, said vendors were only down a little bit for the festival in Lincoln and she attributed that to continuing concerns about covid-19. The Apple Festival had 80 vendors set up for the three-day weekend.
It was also harder this year to find apples because of the late freeze in the spring. Normally, the apples for slicing and for making apple cider come from Murphy’s Orchard in Missouri. This year, apples had to be shipped from Wisconsin, which meant costs were up somewhat, she said. For the weekend, the festival usually slices about 100 bushels of apples to give away to visitors and sells around 500-600 gallons of cider.
Hulse said the 2021 festival was one of her smoothest festivals to coordinate. One major difference is that she contracted with one company to bring in the food concessions. Normally, the committee pieces all of that together, she said. “We’ve had plenty of people (at the show) so the vendors say they’re doing well,” Hulse said.