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Festival weekend is fruitful


 Virginia's recent apple and film fests a healthy balance.
PAUL SULLIVAN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 11/11/2012

IT HAD BEEN three years since I'd last been to the Vintage Virginia Apple Festival. A lot of water had gone down the river.

The last time we drove to North Garden for the festival, my friend CG and I met my sister, Ann, and her husband, Dick. A year after that, my sister died. It had been a heavy loss.

Dick, who lives in Fluvanna County, has managed--not without difficulty--to move on with his life. He is the absolute definition of an "active senior." He never stops moving.

Dick had quite a weekend planned. We could be part of all or any of it.

The Shelton family grows apples on their mountainside farm at North Garden, some 12 miles south of Charlottesville. The entire big family seems to be involved.

The festival was popular when we went in 2009. Now it's huge. What's not to like? They've added a cidery, producing dry table-quality cider from their vintage apple strains.

There was every imaginable food. We had Turkish-style lamb gyros for lunch.

There were demonstrations, vendors offering a slew of homemade delicacies, entertainment, hayrides up the mountain, and half a million other things to see-touch-feel-ask about and, of course, buy.

We met Dick and went to hear vintage-apple guru Tom Burford talk on the topic, which never ceases to inform and amaze. Who knew that there are some 10,000 varieties of apple; that cider was the common drink of Colonial Virginians; that the half dozen or so kinds of apples you buy in the store are not even an apple in the bucket; that Thomas Jefferson was a noted apple authority who developed his own favorites.

When we were all appled out, we took a break at Dick's place near Keswick in Fluvanna. This past weekend also happened to be the weekend of the 25th Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville.

You may not be aware that Virginia has a vibrant film industry that is definitely on the move.


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