Shoreham apple fest offers fruit, music and pig kissing

SHOREHAM — The Shoreham Apple Fest on Sunday, Sept. 16, will mark its 10th year of uniting people for a day of music, food, festivities, recreation and even a shameless display of pig smooching. It all aims to raise funds for the community’s Platt Memorial Library.
This year’s festival will also bring attention to Shoreham’s 1839 schoolhouse on Route 22A and the so-called Farnham property. The Shoreham Historical Society at Apple Fest will be raising some money to help shore up the old schoolhouse, while the Farnham Task Force will be soliciting ideas from area residents about how they’d like to see the 312 acres of land used.
“It’s the ultimate fall day and a great time,” Platt Memorial Library Trustee Cora Waag said in summing up the Shoreham Apple Fest.
As usual, Apple Fest will be held at the Shoreham town green and gazebo. The day kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with a new exercise option. It’s called the Orchard Run, a fun jog/walk that will begin at Shoreham Elementary School at 130 School Road. Walkers and runners will wind their way through back roads and apple orchards on a loop back to the village. Categories for both the 5K and 10K races include ages 16 and under (registration fee $15) and adults ($25). Registration on race day will cost an additional $5, so participants are urged to get a spot in advance by logging onto friendsoftheplatt.com.
Orchard Run participants will be entered into raffle drawings and receive a discount on lunch at the Apple Fest food tent. Race t-shirts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some folks might note the Orchard Run course is reminiscent of the former Apple Blossom Derby, a springtime event that organizers discontinued around five years ago.
Molly Francis, a member of the Friends of the Platt Memorial Library group, was among those who’ve missed the derby and have been looking at ways to bring it back. She and like-minded people reasoned the Apple Fest might be a good place for a Derby comeback.
If you’re not into walking/running events, there’ll be plenty of other things to do, see, hear and eat at the Apple Fest.
Activities and live music with Snake Mountain Bluegrass will begin at noon. Lunch, made and served by the Friends of the Platt Library, will include pulled pork sandwiches with sides of cold slaw, baked beans or macaroni and cheese. Apple desserts will be sold along with cider and snow cones. There will be wine, cider and whisky tasting opportunities for adults.
Several vendors will display their wares at a farmers market. There will also be the annual apple pie contest, a photo contest, tennis and pickle ball activities on the town courts, a bounce house and children’s activities.
And let’s not forget what has become an annual highlight of the festival: The “Kiss the Pig” fundraiser for the library. Throughout September, townspeople have been placing their votes and dollars in ballot boxes to select the “lucky’ pig kisser. This year’s candidates include “The Banker,” Mark Young; “The Diner Diva,” Cora Waag; “The Ferry Master,” Mike Matot; “The Postman,” Steve Goodrich; “The Principal,” Michael Lenox; and “The Whiskey Maker,” Raj Bahkta.
Each dollar equals one vote, and the celebrity earning the most votes kisses the pig.  The final tally will be made at Apple Fest in the town gazebo 2 p.m., rain or shine. Petunia the piglet will be on hand for kissing and petting by all. Ballot boxes are located at the Shoreham Elementary School, the Platt Memorial Library, the Halfway House Restaurant, the First National Bank of Orwell, and the Shoreham Inn.
Funds derived from Apple Fest will help pay for repairs to the front entrance of the Platt library. Waag explained water has gotten behind the marble steps, gradually pushing them away from the building. Repairs will also focus on the abutments that support pillars at the sides of the entrance.
Total project cost: approximately $22,000. Shoreham successfully applied for a historic preservation grant of $9,475.
Participants will also be able to buy hats, and raffle tickets for a great woven basket made by Sue MacIntire. Proceeds will be applied to the first phase of work on the old Shoreham schoolhouse, which now serves as headquarters for the local historical society and its museum.
Phase one of the work will key on the building’s stone foundation, according to historical society President Linda Oaks. Once that’s done, phase two will involve doing mortar work on the above-ground stones of the building.
“We need to stabilize the building,” she said. “We are saving its life, to continue it as a museum and as a place to occasionally hold meetings.”
Oaks is also a member of the Farnham Task Force. The group will have a booth at Apple Fest and will be asking locals how they’d like to see the Farnham property used. The Shoreham selectboard will have the final say, after receiving the task force’s recommendations by the end of this year.
Shoreham residents at their 1999 town meeting voted 271-58 to purchase the Farnham property for $130,000. Local leaders recommended the purchase because of the parcel’s close proximity to the village and because a portion of it could be used for a $2 million municipal sewer system, which residents also approved in 1999, by a 272-61 tally.
At the same time, the Shoreham selectboard created a committee to do some master planning for the property, which borders a sizable stretch of Route 22A and a small portion of Main Street. It extends west into a section of Cedar Swamp. It includes a copious amount of farmland, including some expansive hay fields just west of 22A.
Approximately 174 of the total 312 acres is zoned agricultural-residential — though an estimated 92 acres of that is swamp, according to a municipal inventory of the property. Around 30 acres is in the low-density residential district, with 22 acres is in the village-commercial district. The remaining 81 acres is in the village-residential zoning district, of which 63 acres could potentially be developed, according to town officials.
Task force members believe they’ve already found an ideal use for a small portion of the land. Members are evaluating a narrow, approximately 5-acre strip of property in the village to use as a municipal park. The park would begin from Main Street and run along Route 22A, on east side of the Farnham property.
Oaks and other task force members will remind folks at Apple Fest about an upcoming Oct. 29 public meeting at which town officials will seek more input on the Farnham land. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the town clerk’s office.
For more information abut Shoreham Apple Fest and the Platt library, visit friendsoftheplatt.com, or the Platt link on the town’s website, shorehamvt.org
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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