Johnny Appleseed Festival to be 'pared down' this year, organizers say

Activities for this year's Johnny Appleseed Festival in Crystal Lake will be limited and modified this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the month of September, the ‘apple’ will be pared down to a few family-friendly activities and served in bite-sized pieces,” Brett Rainwater, president of the Downtown Crystal Lake Board of Directors, said in a statement. “Core activities such as the Apple Scavenger Hunt, Scarecrow Decorating, the Great Ball Race and other appealing events and activities will preserve the spirit of the festival for 2020.”

The even has been a feature of Crystal Lake since 1992. It typically features a Johnny Appleseed impersonator to share stories, offer history lessons and entertain visitors along with children’s games, music, a craft fair, demonstrations and wagon rides.

Organizers plan for a full return to the festival Sept. 25, 2021.

“As the largest fundraising event for downtown Crystal Lake, we ask that the sponsors and community continue to support our organization,” Rainwater said. “Purchasing raffle tickets for the Great Ball Race, entering the contests, voting on scarecrows and sponsoring will help downtown continue to thrive.”

The festival is named after orchardist and nurseryman John Chapman, known more commonly as Johnny Appleseed. It is held the last Saturday each September around Chapman’s birthday.