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Apple Dumpling Festival offers variety of delights
A crowd of about 2,000 filled the streets of downtown Stuart on Saturday for the Apple Dumpling Festival. The festvial featured about 115 vendors as well as music, a 5K run/walk, music, food, produce, arts and crafts, a bounce house, pony rides, and puppet shows, among other activities. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
A red bandanna and blue jeans proved to be the charm for Jack, a 10-year-old miniature poodle that won first place for small dogs in a costume contest Saturday at the Apple Dumpling Festival in downtown Stuart.
About 2,000 or more people attended the festival, and there were about 115 vendors, said Billy Gammons, who coordinated the event with the help of Town Manager Terry Tilley and Town Clerk Susan Slate.
Owner Pam Hylton of Stuart pumped her fist in the air when “farmer” Jack was announced the winner of the small-dog category, which had about 11 contestants.
“I am excited,” Hylton said. “We love our dog. He’s like a son.” She added that Jack is friendly and likes to jump in people’s laps.
Her best friend Colleen Miles’ dog, Finnegan, placed second in the small-dog category. Finnegan, a male Maltese and Pomeranian mix, was dressed as a bee. He wore a black and yellow costume with wings and antennae.
Miles, of Roanoke, said Finnegan is protective of “his little sister,” referring to Miles’ 8-month-old daughter, Mackenzie.
Ellie, a Papillon dressed as a cowgirl, won third place among small dogs.
“She (doesn’t) ever meet a stranger, four-legged or two-legged,” said Leslie Joyce of Stuart, Ellie’s owner.
“I’m the dog’s grandmother,” said Ann Goad of Stuart, Joyce’s mother, who also praised Ellie’s temperament and intelligence. Goad helps take care of Ellie.
A bulldog named Gracie won first place in the large dog (at least 25 pounds) category. Gracie, dressed as a female pirate, wore an eye patch, a black and red hat, striped skirt and stiffened petticoat trimmed in red.
Gracie’s owners are Rebecca and Shaun Moore of North Carolina.
The three dogs in the large-dog category were judged on most original costume, and the small dogs were judged on cutest costume, according to Rebecca Adcock. She emceed the dog costume contest and is a member of town council and a board member of Caring Hearts Free Clinic. Contest proceeds, from entry fees, will benefit the clinic, according to Adcock and Betty Kirkpatrick, administrative assistant at the clinic.
About 100 people, including dog owners, attended the contest.
Observer John Mitchell of Five Forks said the contest was “great — all those cute little ol’ dogs.” He added that one of the dogs reminded him of a skunk he recently saw digging in his yard.
The 12th annual festival also included a 5K run/walk, music, food, produce, arts and crafts, a bounce house, pony rides, and puppet shows, among other activities.
Grace Baptist Church’s Puppets of Praise brought about 30 of their 60 puppets to perform puppet shows, said Maynee Meadows, director of puppets.
One of the shows included an anti-bullying number “sung” (lip synch) by a blue-skinned, green-haired puppet in an Elvis Presley-sounding voice. Several children in the audience, including a girl whose face was painted like a cat’s, seemed enthralled when the puppet sang lines including, “Don’t be cruel to the kids at school,” and “If you treat others with respect, nobody’s going to feel like a reject.”
Among the other attractions was a John Deere 1950 Model M tractor/ice-cream making machine. A placard said the tractor was purchased new in 1950 by a tobacco farmer in Mayodan, N.C., who used it to cultivate and plow tobacco for 30 years. It sat idle under a tobacco barn shed from 1980-99, when Junior Taylor bought it for B. and Coates Clark of Stuart. David Collins completely restored it in 1999.
In 2006, Junior Taylor customized and installed a five-gallon country freezer to the model M and made and finished the mahogany wooden platforms. In 2012, Junior and Carol Taylor added the second five-gallon country freezer to the ice-cream making machine, which makes ice cream for charities in Patrick, Floyd and Carroll counties, the placard states.
Nearby, women from Stuart United Methodist Church were selling apple dumplings. According to Patricia Crissman and Sharon Shepherd, 20 to 25 women of the church made more than 600 dumplings for sale. Crissman said each baked apple dumpling was made with apples, biscuit and a sauce with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and no two were exactly alike. Proceeds will be used for missions work in the community, they said.
A bit later, festival-goer Shirley Tatum of the Horsepasture area was holding a bag filled with Golden Delicious apples and a bag with produce and crafts she had purchased.
“I’ve enjoyed today,” she said. “I get to socialize with people I don’t get to see often.”
“Everybody had a good time,” said Gammons. He added that food and crafts vendors were pleased with sales.