Staring at it’s inception in 1954, the annual Apple Dumpling Festival has held strong as a Berks County tradition. Fun rides, pie eating contests, watermelon seed spitting, and great food all make fore a nice local festival. Great are the apple dumplings. Served hot or cold; with or with out ice cream, these homemade treats are the hallmark of the festival and keep visitors coming back.
At the Apple Dumpling Festival much is made over the Apple Dumpling Pageant where the annual Miss Apple Dumpling is crowned. The marquee of the Apple Dumpling is the well-stocked midway. There is an impressive carnival with tons of rides and games and food vendors. At the grandstand, live entertainment plays all week. Theater groups put on special shows, while dance troupes, karate clubs, and live bands delight audiences. A small craft show and flea market is on site too. The Apple dumpling festival is replete with the best foods around. Barbeque chicken, pulled pork, ribs, hand-tossed pizza, hamburgers, smoked turkey legs, perogies, chicken wings are some of the fares. Light treats such as kettle corn, fresh squeezed lemonade, and shaved ice. Of course there are tons of apple dumplings!
The Apple Dumpling pageant itself is definitely the centerpiece of the festival. Open to female contestants of Berks County, there are not one but four pageants with contestant ranging in age from 4 to 21 years old. These ladies compete for the titles of Little Miss Apple dumpling; Junior Miss Apple Dumpling; Teen Miss Apple Dumpling; and finally, Miss Apple Dumpling. Through the week, each category of contestants are judged on personality, connection with audience, stage presence and overall appearance through a series of trials such as fashion competitions, fitness routines, and private interviews. Awards are given for the winning title of Miss Congeniality, and People’s Choice. On Saturday evening, the crowning of the new Miss Apple Dumpling ends the festival.
Admission is free and parking is free. All day wrist bands for the carnival are priced relatively well, and a there is a matinee discount on Monday and Saturday.