MURPHYSBORO, ILLINOIS (WSIL) -- This year the community will be celebrating 70 years of the Apple Festival by bringing back lots of traditions with a few new things for visitors to check out.
Returning this year are the food trucks, rides, the famous parade, and emporium shop. The bakery will also be back, and that's where you can find mother-daughter duo Linda Butcher and Sandra Ripley. They'll be selling apple pies, turnovers, danishes, strudel and streusel to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Also a tradition at the festival is the apple pie and apple butter contest. This year, Tonya Walker is one of the volunteers in charge and she says there's a twist.
"We judge traditional, non-traditional and the apple butter," she explains. "This year for something special, I've started the showmanship award because we get some beautiful works of art for pies."
She hops the new category will be a draw to visitors and bring more competitors to see if they have what it takes in the kitchen to win.
Something completely new this year is a mural recently unveiled just for the four-day festival, which was postponed last year. It shows Captain Apple sauce, the Queen's court and Crimson Express in the parade.
The painting marks the third in a series of about 12 that will spruce up the town, and is part of a project by Revitalize 62966. Shirley Krienert, who is a member of the group, says t's been a collaborative effort.
"We've had people from far away that used to live in Murphysboro, people that live in Murphysboro, businesses, organizations," she says about the on-going work. "It's such a nice feeling to know that everyone is coming together to bring public art to Murphysboro."
The new mural will also act as a photo opportunity at the Apple festival and is located next to the concert stage, so organizers hope families will come down and a get a group picture or a selfie.
Another new addition is a yellow, black and red trolley that's also located near the sound stage and will take part in the parade for the Apple blossoms.
The committee bought it a few years ago, and it was refurbished by the Murphysboro Life Skills Re-Entry Center Construction class, which was also responsible for the new bakery in 2018.