BELPRE - Howes Grove Park is expected to be filled this weekend for the 33rd annual Belpre Apple Butter Stir Off.
The $2 admission charge, with children 12 and younger free, will include live entertainment, games, inflatables, concessions, clowns, face painting, crafts, quilters and other activities, said event co-chair Willene Bacon.
Local groups and organizations will also have booths with their wares and information available.
"We have a lot going on this weekend," said Bacon.
The Belpre Lions Club has organized the apple butter festival each year since 1979 with the proceeds going to help the club purchase eyeglasses and hearing aids for community members, she said.
The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
"We always have live music, crafts, food and games for the kids," Bacon said. "But the apple butter is what people come for."
During both days of the event, Pioneer Presbyterian Church and Boy Scout Troop 91 will be making fresh apple butter and selling it by pints and quarts during the Stir Off.
Tom Webster, an event coordinator from Pioneer Presbyterian Church, said the church and the Boy Scouts began work on the apple butter last week.
"We will use a total of 85 bushels of apples for this year's festival," he said.
The two groups have been coring and cutting the apples and making apple sauce, which will become apple butter before and during the festival.
"We always have some made when the festival begins and we always make some during the weekend," Webster said. "That's why people come to the Apple Butter Stir Off, to see the apple butter being made and get some."
The apples for this year's apple butter are from R.E. Holdren apple orchard in Little Hocking and from Bob's Market.
"We use a blend of all kinds of apples to give our apple butter unique flavor," Webster said. "Each batch is always a little different-thicker, more red-- there's something new about each one."
The apple butter has been made each year by the two groups for more than 16 years. Members of the church and scouts will show festival attendees how to stir the mix in copper kettles over open fires during the event. It took two weeks of evening work for the apple butter to go from apples to the finished product.
The Scouts' earnings go to the individual boys' accounts to be used for summer camp and other special projects. The church uses the proceeds for general projects. In the past, the troop has made about 220 gallons of apple butter with members of the Pioneer Presbyterian Church for years to sell at the festival, primarily using apples grown in and around Belpre.
Along with the apple butter and entertainment, Saturday will host the Miss Apple of Your Eye pageant as well as the Marietta Memorial Blood Mobile.