The clouds scuttled across the sky, the sun breaking out in bursts as the crowd gathered behind Stony Brook Community Church on Christian Avenue for the 2014 Apple Festival.
The Apple Festival, held on Saturday, September 13 from 11am to 5pm, started out as a country fair in the 1960s.
“I can remember coming here when I was much younger,” said Pat Martin, a chairperson and organizer for the event. “It was real country, everyone wore these long dresses, and it wasn’t until the 80s when they changed it to an apple festival.”
The festival has continued to be successful after all of these years and although it has gone through various name changes, Rev. Chuck Van Houten says the spirit has remained the same: “everything apple with extra fun on the side.”
“I’ve been the pastor of this church for just one year, but I think the community is so great for being able to come together for events like this,” Rev. Van Houten said. “Plus all of the money we raise from it will go to the church for mission work, as well as to charities such as Habitats for Humanity.”
The festival had a plethora of apple recipes, apple pies, apple fritters, and candy apples as well as activities for the kids such as face painting and a bouncy house.
There were also countless vendors selling a variety of talent, anywhere from handmade jewelry and clothes to homemade soaps and cookies.
Stevie Morris, a fiber artist from Port Jefferson, has been bringing her talent to events like this for years.
“I started making clothing with wool as a hobby in the 70s,” she said. “I began to teach it at schools but now that I am older, I just do it for myself in my free time.”
Diane Coppola, owner of Cookie Celebration, has been baking homemade personalized cookies for several years now.
“I used to work as a business consultant, but then my mom got sick so I took time off from my job and started baking,” said Coppola. “I loved it so much that I turned it into a business and now I make my cookies for weddings, showers, and other parties, and I try to sell them at as many of these events as possible.”
Like Coppola, Tracy Seedorf, a jewelry vendor at the festival, also turned her hobby into a business.
“I used to walk along the beach and collect sea glass, and then I decided to start making jewelry with it,” Seedorf said. “And before I knew it I started my business Seestone Jewelry and I now get to share my creations with people at fairs and festivals like this one.”
Aside from the Apple Festival, Stony Brook Community Church has many more events planned for the upcoming months. “Events like these are the things that keep Stony Brook a community,” said Rev. Van Houten. “And a community is what we are all about at Stony Brook Community Church.”