Apple Festival Brings Fun For All Ages This Weekend At Homesteads Tower | Lifestyles

Old times are not forgotten at the Cumberland Homesteads Apple Festival.

The two-day festival, scheduled for September 25-26, is now in its 17th year. It’s a tribute to the original Homesteaders and their wisdom in preserving the bounty of their apple harvests that came from the many saplings brought back from their old homes.

The neighborhood now known as Cumberland Homesteads was born out of a difficult life brought about by the Great Depression. Federal planners developed the program under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to lend a hand to farmers, coal miners and workers in Upper Cumberland by setting them up on small farms with businesses owned by the community.

While many similar programs have failed, the Cumberland Homesteads have thrived in large part thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the Appalachians. The pride is evident in the many “Homestead Houses” scattered south of Crossville and around Cumberland Mountain State Park.

In the center is the majestic octagonal Homestead Tower with its museum and staircase winding around a 50,000 gallon water tank to the observation deck at the top. It shares a campus with Homestead Elementary School. Now part of the Cumberland County School District, the school was part of the Cumberland Homesteads, with a unique campus of cottage-style classrooms that blend seamlessly into the surrounding community.

The sprawling campus that the two share makes it ideal for hosting the Apple Festival and its many activities. More than 200 vendors are expected, including heritage artisans demonstrating their know-how to the delight of festival-goers. Be on the lookout for antique tractors, quilts, weaving, basketry, and woodcarving – and keep your ears open for ‘spinning threads’ narration and on-going musical entertainment.

Paul V. Smith will be offering free mule-drawn wagon tours on the first morning of the festival. Cumberland County Master Gardeners will be hosting a children’s craft at their booth. Children will also enjoy a petting zoo, playground and obstacle course, face painting, balloon animals, cotton candy and much more!

Of course there will be apples. The demand for French fries is a festival favorite, and the cider is flowing.

The music includes country, Americana, big band, and soft rock groups, with performances starting at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. There will be a special performance from the Cumberland County Playhouse from 11:30 am to noon. Sunday, enjoy gospel music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The $ 5 admission is valid for both days and includes a free visit to the Homesteads Tower Museum. Children 10 and under are admitted free.

The festival hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visit for more information.

The Cumberland Homesteads Apple Festival is a fundraising event for the Cumberland Homesteads Tower Association, a non-profit organization committed to upholding the district and the ideals of Cumberland Homesteads. Proceeds help keep the Tower Museum and the Homesteads House Museum on Pigeon Ridge Rd. Open to the public.

Take a taste of the past and see why Tennessee’s greatest historic district is being touted as the showcase for the New Deal.

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