FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A festival that celebrates all things Johnny Appleseed kicks off its 40th year this weekend.
The Johnny Appleseed Festival started in 1974 with about 20 vendors. Since then, the event has grown into two parks and has more than 200 booths with vendors from 42 different states.The family event is located at Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park next to the Coliseum on 1502 Harry Baals Dr.
Photos | Johnny Appleseed Festival
The various vendors are required to dress in 19th century period clothes, sell products, demonstrate trades and provide food potentially available in the 1800’s. Another requirement for vendors is that all cooking must be done over an open fire and without the use of propane gas.
For the 40th anniversary, Johnny Appleseed Festival board members gave the grave site in the park a makeover.
“New cobblestone, we painted the railing…it’s easier to see everything right now, so it’s fabulous,” Becky Butler, a Johnny Appleseed Board Assistant, said.
There are also new bushes along side the grave in the shape of a J and a C for John Chapman. Festival organizers said the grave is one of the more popular attractions during the festival. Although it’s unknown exactly where John Chapman was buried, it is fact that he died in Fort Wayne. Some people believe he is buried on the hill in Johnny Appleseed Memorial Park where the festival takes place, but others believe he is buried down the road on the Canterbury Green golf course.
“We really don’t know what to believe and what not to believe,” said Adam Hall, a festival-goer. “It’s just fun to come out here as a community and at least celebrate what we do know.”
Saturday, September 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While visiting the park, people can also visit the Johnny Appleseed Grave Site. According to the festival’s website, they don’t believe it is the actual burial site for Johnny. However, it is the grave site for the Archer family.
For more information on the festival and its activities, click here.