Sunday September 23, 2012

LENOX -- The streets of downtown were packed with apple-loving multitudes Saturday for Apple Squeeze 2012, the popular annual fall festival with a decidedly apple-centric focus.

There wasn't much in the way of opportunities to squeeze apples, but there were plenty of other treats, including candied apples, caramel apples, apple pie, apple cider doughnuts, apple cider, apple juice, apple decorations and lots of bags full of unsqueezed apples.

Chris Novak, who was one of about 40 people volunteering at a booth sponsored by the Berkshire Christian School, said the festival is a great opportunity to raise money for the school, taste some great food and find lots of community fun.

"The people love it and the food is good," he said. "That's why we're here every year."

Some of the school's volunteers actually dress up as apples and hand out bite-sized apple slices to the passing crowds.

The festival, founded in 1980, is also a fundraising opportunity for other organizations like the Sonsini Animal Shelter, the Berkshire Humane Society animal shelter, the Lenox Library, the Lenox Historical Society, and Shakespeare & Company.

Sunday, when the festival continues, attractions like wagon rides provided by River Bank Farm of Dalton and a Kids Park in Lilac Park with children's carnival games and bounce houses will continue.

And the stage at the corner of Church and Housatonic streets will offer several live local musical acts.

About 20 vendors offer a wide variety of foods.

At a booth sponsored by Mary's Kitchen, Mary Zabian and her family will sell about 100 pounds of really big, tasty looking cake by the slice.

Saturday, the booth was nearly always engulfed by cake-seeking festival-goers.

Zabian said she's been selling her baked goods at the Apple Squeeze for nearly 20 years.

"Everybody's looking for my cakes every year," she said, flashing her big smile during a lull in the action. "Everybody loves it. And I love them."