SALEM, W.Va. (WBOY) – The first day of the Salem Apple Butter Festival began on Thursday.

With this being the first festival since COVID-19, the president and vice president of the festival wanted to do something special. This year, they are honoring all of the members that have spent almost 30 years dedicating and volunteering time to the festival, including those who have passed on or stepped down. There are trees painted on the main stage, and apples with the names of those being honored will be hung on the trees. Each year to come, they will rehang the apples and add on as time goes on. Three apples being hung this year are to honor:

  • Jim and Haroldene Helmick
  • Gary and Becky Martin
  • Bill and Donna Hayes

There are two other couples that will be honored, but it is a surprise that will be given to them on Thursday night.

The Salem Apple Butter Festival was an annual event for 36 years before taking two years off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year would technically be the 39th annual Salem Apple Butter Festival, but it has been ongoing for a total of 37 years as of Oct. 6. Festival board members have been working since February to make this year extra special and fun. Christy Howell, president of the board, and Dianna Samples, vice president and treasurer, are looking forward to dancing around to all the bands and having fun in what they, along with others, helped bring to fruition.

Crowd gathered as Salem Elementary performs (WBOY Image)

Activities began as early as 9:30 a.m. with the receiving of quilts to be judged in the quilt show. Salem Elementary got to be shining apples on stage as they sang for the community. Many pageant activities will also be taking place, and of course, apple butter is being made. The winner of the “queens pageant” was crowned on Thursday night by the festival’s sponsor, Salem University, who gave away a four-year full-paid scholarship to the winner of the pageant.

The Apple Butter Shop is open for business at 104 West Main Street in Salem. They sell apple butter along with donated, thrifted goods. Proceeds from anything that is sold within the shop will be put towards the festival next year. Be sure to stop by if you visit the festival this weekend.

Kid and adult activities will be running from Oct. 6 through 9. You can find the entire schedule of events here. The festival will wrap up on Sunday, October 9 at 5 p.m.