By: Daniel del Ben
Summer is coming to a close but before we get ahead of ourselves and move on to pumpkins, it’s going to be apple festival time in New Jersey. A longtime staple for Morris County residents has been United Presbyterian’s Apple Festival in Flanders which has taken place annually for over 15 years now. This year’s festival will be held on Sat. October 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the auction starting around 2 p.m.
“Our church has been blessed with an amazing backyard, one of the largest remaining open spaces in town, which we use for a variety of purpose throughout the year, including outdoor worship on summer Sundays, games at our annual Vacation Bible School and, of course, it gives us room for everything at the Apple Festival,” said Church Pastor Reverend Richard Oppelt. “What I particularly like is the variety of activities and experiences our small congregation is able to offer through this annual event.”
The annual festival works as both a fundraiser and a community outreach program. There are many youth and family-based events going on all day including games, arts and crafts, and a bounce house. There will be dozens of vendors at the event selling anything from jewelry, crafts, clothes, photography, and more.
The church grounds are also a great area for picnicking, and there will be a wide variety of food vendors. Many will sell hot dogs and hamburgers, and other picnic foods. Church members will also hold a bake sale. Budd Lake’s RH Farms will be selling fresh produce and the Lion’s Club will provide funnel cakes.
“One of the highlights of the festival every year is the Live Auction. Any monies earned go to support projects of the church, particularly youth programs and various local and international mission projects we do throughout any given year,” said Oppelt. “It also gives us a small supply of money we can use when people in the community approach us with a particular crisis need. We have several members who have been aggressively soliciting a wide variety of donations from businesses far and wide that we will auction off. This is our single largest money-maker and this year promises to have more items for auction than in any previous auction, due largely to the efforts of church member Jim Reynolds. All attendees need to do is sign up for a numbered paddle and be present when the auction is held. It is a fun way to get a few bargains for a good cause.”
In addition to games and picnics, there will be live music. The church’s worship band, Newsong, will be playing a selection of secular music. Also scheduled to play is a young solo artist named Nicolas Saunier.
“The Apple Festival gives our church a wonderful opportunity to come together in common purpose, not only to support our annual ministry and mission goals, but to give something fun back to our community,” said Oppelt, “and this year it gives us an opportunity to celebrate 60 years serving our community as a Presbyterian congregation.”
For more information, you can contact the church office at 973-584-8195 or visit them on the church’s website at www.unitedpfc.com.