For 43 years and counting, Waynesboro has celebrated Apple Days in Willow Oak Plaza.

Apple Days is a cherished local tradition, bringing local crafters, vendors, and nonprofit organizations together with their community. Crafters and vendors sell their hand-made wares and food. Nonprofit organizations have the chance to raise funds and engage with the community they serve. Attendees from all over can enjoy discovering unique items, sample delicious food, and fellowship with one another. This year will also feature a bounce house and music for entertainment.

This weekend, Apple Days will return to Willow Oak Plaza for its 44th year. In addition to a slew of vendors and food, this year will also feature a bounce house and music for entertainment.

Anita Lewis of Waynesboro has been coordinating Apple Days for the past five years, and has participated in the event herself since 1997.

“When Apple Days originally started, people would make apple butter. They would sell apples,” Lewis said, explaining the origin of the event’s name. Boy Scouts sell apple dumplings each year, and fall is also apple season.

“It started out having to do with a lot of apples,” she said.

When Willow Oak Plaza came into new ownership, Lewis contacted the new owners to be sure the Apple Days tradition could carry on where it had occurred for decades. The new owners were very agreeable, she said thankfully, and allowed her to coordinate the event as planned.

It is important to support local crafters, vendors, and nonprofit organizations, Lewis said.

“Keep your money local,” Lewis said.

Many crafters work full-time jobs on top of their creative work, she explained. Working with crafters and vendors for many years, Lewis knows their passion-fueled crafting hobbies are a commitment of time and talent, and Apple Days gives them the chance to showcase their work and profit from their efforts while providing customers with unique goods.

Nonprofit organizations set up their booths for free in the plaza, at Lewis’s idea. Working with Spay Neuter Incorporated animal rescue, she knows the financial strain that nonprofits can face and is happy to help ease that burden at Apple Days.

“Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is going to be bringing four dogs Saturday, so hopefully somebody will get adopted,” she said.

Attendees can enjoy refreshments of apple cider, baked goods, and other treats.

Pumpkins and mums, nature’s classic autumn decorations, will also be on sale.

Crafts of all kinds will be available for purchase. Crochet items, wreaths and other home decorations, clothing and jewelry, Mary Kay makeup products, ornaments, candles, artwork, bath products and more are scheduled to be at Willow Oak Plaza.

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