BELPRE - The 34th annual Apple Butter Stir-Off will take place this weekend in Howes Grove Park.
The event, which is always held the first weekend of October, will include live entertainment, games and inflatables for children Saturday and Sunday, said event co-chair Willene Bacon.
"We have made a few changes, but will still have crafts, food vendors and the Boy Scouts making apple butter," she said.
One of the changes for this year is the lack of admission fee.
"We have made it free to attend and hope more people will come and buy apple butter and from the vendors," Bacon said.
In an effort to offset the loss of funds from entrance fees, Bacon said the Belpre Lions Club, which has organized the festival each year since 1979, will sell raffle tickets. The tickets will cost $10 and enter purchasers in a chance to win gift cards for $300 in gasoline, $200 in groceries from Kroger and $100 in cash.
"It's just something different we thought we would try to raise more money," Bacon said.
The Belpre Lions Club began the festival as a way to raise money for the organization to help purchase eyeglasses and hearing aids for community members. All proceeds from the event go to these causes.
The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 11:55 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Both days volunteers from Pioneer Presbyterian Church and Boy Scout Troop 91 will stir cast iron pots of apple butter over open fires. The 85 bushels of apples for last year's festival came from R.E. Holdren apple orchard in Little Hocking and Bob's Market.
The two groups cored and cut the apples and made apple sauce, which will become apple butter before and during the festival.
The apple butter has been made each year by the two groups for more than 17 years. Members of the church and scouts will show festival attendees how to stir the condiment in copper kettles over open fires during the event. It took two weeks of evening work for the apple butter to go from fresh, whole apples to the finished product.
The Scouts' earnings go to the individual boys' accounts to be used for summer camp and other special projects. The church uses the proceeds for general projects. In the past, the troop has made about 220 gallons of apple butter with members of the church.
"Last year the elements took over and it rained all weekend, hopefully this year the weather will be in our favor," Bacon said.