PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2013. The 2016 event will take place September 30th – October 2nd and October 7th – 9th. While this post should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, please be sure to check the Southington Apple Harvest Festival website for details about things like dates, hours and pricing.
It was another adventurous outing with my crew this past weekend. It was Saturday, my hubby was working and I really wanted to take the kids somewhere fun.
It was the first weekend of a two weekend run for the Southington Apple Harvest Festival and I wanted to go. But me and the kids and no husband at a potentially crowded event?
Well, the good news was that I really was only going to be on my own for an hour or so. My husband would be done work around 6 and works nearby, so if I could just keep my crew happy and eating until then, I figured we would be fine.
I decided to be brave and load up the kiddos for a little afternoon outing. Off to Southington we went!
Since I hadn’t been to the event before, I had no idea what the parking situation would be like. I read online that there would be FREE parking available at Southington High School and you could pick up a shuttle there to take you the two miles to the festival grounds (the shuttle runs Saturday and Sunday only). The other parking option would be paid lots available within walking distance of the festival.
Given that I had three little kids and a double stroller with me, I didn’t think I could swing a shuttle. So I headed straight to the festival grounds and then began looking for a good parking option.
I’ve been to Southington a few times and was familiar with a couple of landmarks in the area. As I drove around, I spotted a site I’d been to many-a-time to watch my husband play a little basketball.
It was the Southington YMCA and they were charging $5 to park in their lot. Plus the parking fee was a fundraiser for their swim team. Sounded perfect to me.
From the YMCA, it was a very short walk to the festival grounds.
It was pretty crowded when we arrived and I really didn’t know where I wanted to go. I had two munchkins in a stroller and one walking, so I figured we would just walk around for a bit and check out all the festival had to offer. Then grab a little dinner for the kiddos and hope that my husband would arrive soon after. I knew the kids would want to ride a few rides and I thought that would be a great activity for them to do once there was at least one more adult in the mix.
As I mentioned, there was a lot to see and do at the festival. We only hit a few highlights while we were there, and I’m sure there was a ton of stuff that we missed, but to try to simplify things, I took the map from the festival’s website and marked our stopping points.
I am definitely a visual person, so it helps me to see a layout instead of just reading the details. Maybe you are the same way.
The map is split into two sections. Here is the first part and the few highlights we saw:
We walked down Main Street heading from Center Street towards Columbus Avenue. Both sides of the street were lined with booths which included everything from arts & crafts, to food, to event sponsors.
After making our way through the sea of booths, I saw a fun little area ahead. The local Elks lodge was holding their own event right nearby which included a band, food, crafts and a special bonus for those of age, beer and wine.
I didn’t go into the area myself (I needed all my senses together for this outing) but I was curious as to whether or not the area was limited to the 21 and over crowd. I wasn’t able to do much in the area of investigative journalism but I did see a few little ones hanging out in the sectioned off area. So if you are wanting to stop by for some food, drink and entertainment, it did look as though kids were allowed inside. I will warn you, though, that the band was very loud which may be tough on little ears.
Since we weren’t taking part in those particular festivities, I made a U-turn and headed back towards the main festival grounds.
As we walked back and headed towards the main stage, I found the children’s activity tent on our right-hand side. Inside there was face painting, pictures with characters, and some arts and crafts projects. I couldn’t find any information on pricing, but later realized that was probably because most of the activities were free. I later found information on the festival site confirming those details.
Past the children’s activities tent, I could see the main stage straight ahead. There seemed to be a singing contest going on, so we stopped by for a bit to listen to the music.
We made our way into the back parking lot where the bounce houses stood and I headed to the ticket booth to get the low down.
There were about 6 bounce houses set up in the area. Ride tickets were $1 each and it was 3 tickets per child for the bounce house. They also had a deal where you could purchase 24 tickets for $20. The woman running the booth informed me that the same tickets could be used for the other section of the festival that contained rides. I had no idea if there were even rides in that area that the twins could go on, so I wasn’t going to purchase extra tickets now. I just went ahead and bought enough for the twins to get a little bounce time.
Sweetheart didn’t get to jump, but she was just happy to be released from the stroller for a bit.
Right next to the bounce houses was also an important stop, the restrooms.
After we finished up in this area, the kids started letting me know that they were hungry (or as they like to put it, “Eat Mommy, eat!”) Time to find some food.
We worked our way back to Main Street and then ventured into the second section of the festival. Here are the highlights we hit on this side:
As we made our way towards the food area, I couldn’t help but notice a massive line outside one of the booths. I finally realized that this was the booth for the famous apple fritters. I checked with someone in the line and they confirmed that it moved pretty quickly. They also confirmed that the apple fritters were a must have item. I didn’t think I could make it through the line with all three kids, so I would wait for my husband to arrive before we got a few of these treats.
We made our way past the sugar-crazed crowd and went for the first food items we could find. The food area was extremely crowded and I wasn’t going to be able to make my way through there with the double stroller. So we were able to purchase some fries and cheeseburgers at the first two booths.
Once they finished eating, everyone was ready to go check out the rides.
As I mentioned before the ride tickets were $1 each or you could purchase 24 for $20. Rides cost 3-4 tickets per person. The festival also has two family nights where you can purchase a wristband for $25 and have unlimited ride access (October 4th and 11th).
The area had carnival games, food, and about a dozen rides.
We found two rides (the train and the car ride) that the twins could do on their own and a few additional rides that they could do with us. One of the rides they definitely could not do solo was the ferris wheel, so my husband took them. He said the ride was great at first, but it lasted a lot longer than he expected it to. I think restless twin two-year-olds on a Ferris wheel would definitely have been a major challenged. He looked pretty worn out when they were done with that ride!Sweetheart didn’t get to ride anything, but we still had fun!
After we used up all our ride tickets, it was time to begin to make our way back to the car. But first, we had to pick up some apple fritters for the car ride home.
It took me about 15 minutes to make it through what seemed like a ridiculously long line. Then, with treats in hand, we bribed the kids back to the car 🙂
All in all, we had a great time at the Southington Apple Harvest Festival. If you haven’t been before, I would recommend a trip. Good news is the event runs again this weekend (October 11-13). Don’t miss your chance to get a taste of those yummy apple fritters!
Get even more event details on their Facebook page.
- Ride tickets are $1 each or 24 for $20
- Rides costs 3-4 tickets each
- Family night which include unlimited ride wristbands for $25 are October 4th and 11th
- Tickets can be purchased with cash or they will accept MasterCard or Visa
- FREE parking available at Southington High School with a shuttle to the festival grounds (shuttle only runs on Saturdays and Sundays)
- Paid parking available in the lots near the festival grounds
- I parked in the YMCA’s parking lot and paid $5
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Bring a stroller. If you have little ones, bring a stroller and/or a wearable baby carrier. There festival is large and can get pretty crowded. I always feel better when the kids are contained as we move from places to place at a venue like this one.
- Bring cash. Some booths accepted credit cards as payment, but most are cash only venues.
- Bring water. There were only two beverage booths and they were pretty crowded. I would suggest bringing your own water if you can.
- Don’t bring fido. Dogs are not allowed at this event unless they are service dogs.
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