Saturday offers up a chance to catch up on your ABCs

Wellesley set to welcome a host of visitors for the 43rd annual Apple Butter & Cheese Festival

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The Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival will be back for its 43rd season this weekend, bringing with it some of the best that Wellesley Township has to offer. From the fun to the food, the attractions and the parades, the ABC Festival is a celebration of life in the countryside.

The festival kicks off Saturday (September 29) with an early-morning pancake and sausage breakfast, and runs until the late afternoon or early evening hours.

“Small towns need something to add to the community, to bring people together. And I think this is the biggest thing,” said festival chairperson Bob Reid, who’s been volunteering with festival organizing committee for close to 40 years, and has served many years as chair.

With a team of volunteers, Reid has been keeping the small-town celebration going, year after year.

The festival will feature a host of attractions for Wellesley residents and out-of-towners alike, all with distinctly local features. Festival-goers will be able to sample some of the finest fall-time fare in Wellesley, including apple fritters and cider, schnitzel on a bun and the smorgasbord dinner, which begins early at the community centre at 10:30 a.m.

Also on offer are a variety of attractions from pony rides to the tractor pull (as well as a mini-tractor pull for the tykes). The festival will also feature a variety of antique cars and tractors, which will join the noontime parade, and then remain on display near the Home Hardware in Wellesley village for the rest of the day.

“There’ll be an antique road grader maybe there, a Sawyer-Massey road grader. And then one guy brings a whole pile of Allis-Chalmers. But the feature is Cockshutt and Oliver this year,” said Tim Leis, who is organizing the tractor display.

An ancient, yet working, Sawyer-Massey steam engine will also be on display, as well as a baler and live sawmill.

There will be an educational component to the festival as well, as people will have the opportunity to tour some of the local farmlands and agro-businesses.

For Krista Edwards, co-owner of Edwards Family Organics on 5295 William Hastings Line, the tours are an opportunity to show festival-goers some of the unique traits of organic farming.

“It’s basically to educate what it’s like to be an organic farmer, and how different it is from the conventional sense,” noted Edwards.

“We’re also going to have a little market outside, and then our store in here will also be open and full of meat,” she adds with a laugh. The Millbank-based farm specializes in selling organic meats, and during the tour, visitors will be able to meet with some of their organically-raised sheep and chickens.

Back in the village of Wellesley, the festival will be coaxing all day to the sounds of live music. Performers include children’s entertainer Erick Traplin, festival mainstay Kyle Geraghty, the pop and rock sounds of Those Guys, and the locally based women’s barbershop chorus group, the Chord Spinners.

Perhaps the most anticipated performances, however, will be those of the three remaining Wellesley Idol contestants, Rachel Regier, Mitchell Roemer and Justine Sharma. The Idol hopefuls will be competing for the coveted title with musical performances, starting 2 p.m. in Wellesley Village.

Rounding out the attractions are the market place and arts and crafts show near the Wellesley arena, while bouncy castles, climbing walls and more ensure the kids will be kept preoccupied as well.

“So that the kids can be entertained, so that it’s not just dragging the kids around from different display to different display. They can enjoy that to,” said Reid. Keeping the festival accessible, the event will be free to attend.

“To me, it’s a family day.”