SALEM, W.Va. (WBOY) — Thursday marked the start of the 37th Salem Apple Butter Festival, which looks to remember and teach others about Salem’s history of making apple butter.

According to Charla McNaboe, a committee member, “it started off as a very small festival, and we’ve grown to include a lot of local talent.”

Some of the local talent that community members can see during this festival include marching bands, a performance from Salem Elementary School, and a grand feature parade this coming Saturday, Oct. 7.

However, the main attraction of this festival is the apple butter that is being sold. There are also apple butter makers who will be making jars of it on-site.

“We just want to remind people about the art of apple butter making, how important it is for our heritage,” McNaboe said. “It ties us to the past and, you know, Salem has a rich history and we just want people to remember that.”

McNaboe said that when looking back on her family history, she saw that apple butter making was “a generational thing.” She said that while growing up, she spent a lot of time with her family when apple butter was made because it was an all-day event that was not taken lightly. “So, we’ve kinda lost the art of getting our families together, and I think apple butter making is a way to bring that back,” she added.

Alumni who attended Salem University will also be participating in this festival over the weekend to celebrate the college’s homecoming. “They come in from all different states, so families come in to celebrate this together. So, it’s nice to have a family, free festival for everybody to enjoy,” President of the festival, Christy Howell said.

The festival also added a few new things this year to keep things fresh. On the night of Saturday, Oct. 7, an Elvis tribute artist will be performing. Then on Sunday, there will be a Queen’s Ball to wrap up the festivities. “It is a thank you to our committee to come and join all the past queens from present also, and from the community so we can all get together to celebrate a successful festival,” Howell said.

This event will be free to all past queens, neighboring queens, and committee members. For anyone else who would like to attend, tickets can be purchased for $20 per person to enjoy dinner and dancing. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, a Queen’s Pageant was held to determine who will be reigning over the festival.

The Salem Apple Butter Festival is free for anyone to attend, but there is food and different clothing/craft items available for purchase from multiple vendors with tables set up. There are also different attractions for younger participants, including as a moon bounce and a rock climbing wall.

“They can come and enjoy the entertainment, enjoy the pageants, and enjoy the parade,” McNaboe said. “They can bring their families, and everything is free because of the sponsors, and we wanna thank the community for all their support for the past 37 years.”

Howell said that the volunteers who are making fresh apple butter have been preparing well before things kicked off. Over the past few months, these volunteers have been gathering and cutting apples to have enough apple butter for the festival.

The festival is located at Depot Park in downtown Salem and will run through the weekend, with its last day taking place on Sunday, Oct. 8.