The Local Vibe
(Here we will be featuring the latest vibe on what's happening in the Hendersonville area)
The 2017 North Carolina Apple Festival
The North Carolina Apple Festival is an annual event that has been held in Hendersonville on Labor Day Weekend since 1947. The festival was a celebration for the harvesting of the summer crops. What was to become the Apple Festival started as the Harvest Festival in 1937 and several other versions were held for the next few years. World War II interrupted the fall festival and after the war ended, the festival was moved to the spring and renamed the Apple Blossom Festival. The festival was moved back to the fall in 1946 as the Apple Harvest Festival and was renamed the North Carolina Apple Festival in 1947. Apple Orchards have been a large part of Henderson County’s landscape since the 1800’s and Henderson County has been one of the largest apple producing counties in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Apple Festival is now an event that stretches over the three-day Labor Day weekend and culminates with the Labor Day parade. The festival includes live music and a street dance, craft vendors and artists selling their wares, performance artists, and local apple orchards displaying their harvests.
The North Carolina Apple Festival has gained some regional acclaim and several actors and political dignitaries have headlined the Apple Festival parade as the grand marshal. Actor Robert Mitchum was making the movie Thunder Road in western North Carolina and was named the grand marshal for the 1957 North Carolina Apple Festival.
One of the first Apple Festivals I remember going to was 1975 when the television show Movin’ On filmed parts of three episodes in Henderson County and series star Claude Akins was the grand marshal. It was a television show about a big rig truck driver and the tractor trailer with Claude Akins driving it was part of the Apple Festival Parade. That was big news for a nine-year-old boy. The Apple Festival was shown on November 25, 1975 as part of the episode “Please Don’t Talk to the Driver.”
The North Carolina Apple Festival is attended by thousands of people every year and is considered one of western North Carolina’s premier festivals. The Apple Festival is held on Main Street in Hendersonville which is located only about five miles from the Old Homeplace Cottages and Cabins. Turn right onto 176 East as you leave the Old Homeplace and it will take you right to Main Street Hendersonville.
Main Street the 2017 North Carolina Apple Festival
Sheriff McDonald Launches for Re-Election
Filing for 2018 elections is still several months away, but the race for Henderson County sheriff is already kicking into gear.
Incumbent Sheriff Charles McDonald faces Republican challenger Lowell Griffin, and any other candidates who declare their intentions to run.
McDonald kicked off his campaign Thursday night with a rally at Boyd Automotive, setting up a Republican primary election that may decide the next sheriff.
McDonald, 62, has served since March 2012, when he was appointed to the post to finish the term of Rick Davis. McDonald won re-election in 2014.
Since then, he says initiatives he’s put in place have paid dividends, and he’s seeking another term to solidify those gains.
In the past five years, the Sheriff’s Office has achieved greater efficiency and success, he says, citing four years of crime rate reduction in areas such as breaking-and-entering larcenies, down 42 percent, and breaking and entering cases in general, down 47 percent.
His official campaign platform and strategic plan are set to be released next month, McDonald said, but include plans to continue reducing recidivism rates among domestic violence offenders. Reducing recidivism in the jail overall is also a goal.
Cops like to fix stuff, McDonald said, noting that deputies’ training on how to better respond to domestic violence gives them tools to pass on to victims to hopefully help them get started in the right direction.
“Any person we can put back to work and keep them from going back to using or selling drugs or stealing, it doesn’t just benefit the whole community, it benefits their family as well,” he said, adding that it also reduces the load on the jail.
A weekly crime analysis identifies areas of particular concern in the county so deputies on the street can know what to look out for, he said. The Sheriff’s Office is looking at pulling together a team to go into those areas and look specifically for known offenders.
Leadership training for employees has resulted in a a culture change, as the office is more public-oriented and results-driven, McDonald said. If something isn’t working, people have the power to ask questions and come up with suggestions to figure out how to make things better.
Good morale allows for a flow of information, he said. At the start of next year, the Sheriff’s Office will implement its own two-week leadership academy, an accredited program for all higher-ranking personnel.
The Sheriff’s Office has also followed through on promises made to the public, he said, including implementation