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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

CLEC celebrates raising $48,000 during 39th annual Apple Fest

photo submitted by Ron Giofu

by Sylene Argent

Thanks to continued generosity and support, Community Living Essex County (CLEC) was able to receive $48,000 from the Ruthven Apple Festival Steering Committee during the annual celebratory luncheon last Thursday afternoon. The donation was raised during the 39th annual Ruthven Apple Festival, which took place in September.

  Tony DeSantis, Manager of Community Relations and Resource Development, said the proceeds will likely go towards the cost of repairing and maintaining its current transportation fleet, which is the traditional use for the funds.

  “We have a very supportive group, and a lot of corporate sponsors,” DeSantis said of the success of the annual Ruthven Apple Festival event.

  “We want to thank the community,” DeSantis said. “We have a lot of volunteers, including local farmers who contributed to the farmers’ market. A few farmers were able to come out [to the luncheon] and we acknowledged them. We raised $11,000 from Farmers’ Market alone [during the 2018 Ruthven Apple Fest.]”

  Over all, the 39th annual Ruthven Apple Festival was a positive event, DeSantis said. He noted rain was experienced on the Sunday, which affected the car show, but a lot of great feedback was received for the other activities. The event included many features, such as the annual parade, apple peeling contest, vendors’ and farmers’ markets, and live entertainment.

  For many, the Ruthven Apple Festival is almost like a reunion. People meet family there or reunite with others, DeSantis commented. A big draw for the event is that there is no charge for parking or admission. “You can come and enjoy the day without spending a lot. People know what to expect. Some vendors have been [attending] for a long time. The event is steeped in tradition,” DeSantis said of contributing factors for the event’s continued success.

  Next year, CLEC and the Ruthven Apple Festival Steering Committee will celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary. In recognition of this milestone, DeSantis said volunteers will start getting together in January to host planning sessions, which will include looking at ways to recognize this special anniversary and remember former volunteers who have passed on.

  During the luncheon, DeSantis said Jean Myles, a long-time volunteer who oversaw the Ruthven Apple Festival’s farmers’ market for ten years, was recognized. As she passed away recently, CLEC and the Ruthven Apple Festival Steering Committee paid tribute to her.

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