Four Flags Area 50th Apple Festival ends on a sweet note

Girls ages 15 and younger compete in a pie-eating contest at the Four Flags Area Apple Festival on Sunday.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 1:12 AM EDT
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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - Sunday was the final day of the 2022 Four Flags Area Apple Festival.

While fall is already here, the folks of Michiana couldn’t have asked for better weather for the fest.

The Four Flags Area Apple Festival in Niles started in 1972 and has grown yearly.

“The Four Flags Are Apple Festival is just a great community festival that brings together food and rides and games and friends and family and all kinds of different fun things,” said Jenna VanderVelden, a board member for the Four Flags Area Apple Festival.

Locals look forward to the festival every year, and they bring the whole family together for honey crisp fun.

“(My favorite part was) going on the boat, said Zoe, a young apple festival goer. “Because it goes high, and then it feels like you’re flying.”

“I am having a blast. I mean, it’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m riding rides, having fun with my family,” said Breanna, a longtime apple festival goer. “I’ve come (here) ever since I was in elementary school, so it’s been a big celebration every single year. It’s really fun.”

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the apple-themed festival pulled out all the “core” stops.

“We have pies and donuts and caramel apples and apple cider, apple dumplings, said VanderVelden. “All kinds of different things, and we have apple-related contests.”

Those contests include the largest apple, apple seed popping, apple peeling, and apple pie-eating contests.

The pie-eating contest was free to participate in, and the top 3 winners from each contest took home a cash prize.

“You never know how the weather in Michiana is going to cooperate, and it was perfect; blue skies, sunshine,” said VanderVelden. “Everybody came out, great attendance at the parade, everybody at the festival, so everything just fell into place. Let me tell you; we couldn’t have had a better weekend.”

The apple pie eating contest had four events, boys and girls under 15 and under and adult men and women ages 16 and up.

The first, second, and third place prizes were $40, $20, and $10 for the kids, and $75, $50, and $25 for the adults.

There was also a classic car show showing over 100 classic cars.