Applefest raises more than $70,000 for Warwick chamber and community center

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:10

Despite the traffic and the crowds, this one Sunday in October also helps local non-profits WARWICK — The rain stopped, the early morning fog lifted, the skies cleared and once again the traffic on Route 17A was backed up from Mt. Peter to the Village of Warwick. On Sunday, Oct. 2, in spite of weeks of storms and flooding the Village and the organizers still managed to welcome an estimated 30,000 visitors, local citizens and tourists to the 23rd annual celebration of Applefest. Some Warwick residents questioned the value of the celebration in view of the heavy traffic and other inconveniences that occurred during that day. But here’s the answer. The Warwick Applefest 2011 Committee just reported that in its final tally, which takes several months to finalize, the proceeds from last year’s festival raised a record of more than $35,000 for each of the co-sponsoring organizations who plan and produce the event: the Warwick Valley (Doc Fry) Community Center and the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce. Funding source Applefest earns its keep by renting space to vendors and organizations and by sharing the amusement income with the company that provides the rides. Most of the non-profit organizations raise their own funds by serving food or selling retail items. The Applefest Committee, consisting of a coordinator and volunteers from the community center and the chamber of commerce, work together for over ten months each year to plan and organize the festival. Other volunteers also contribute their time and expertise as well. Applefest revenue is critical to the year-long operation of both organizations. The Community Center, for example, which runs primarily on grants and contributions, uses the funds for operating costs and its low-cost and free programs for all children and teens in the Town of Warwick. The Warwick Valley Chamber uses its share of the proceeds to offer events and activities that serve the entire Warwick Valley business community In addition to being the largest fund raiser for the co-sponsors, Applefest is also a major fund-raising vehicle for some 50 local non-profit organizations. And because of the money raised by so many local groups at this festival, fewer contributions are requested from Warwick residents during the rest of the year. The event also supports more than 20 local farmers and food producers who participate. Thanks, Warwick “In addition,” added Applefest 2011 Coordinator Louise Hutchison, “it is important to recognize that attracting so many visitors into our community also gives a much-needed boost to the local economy in these challenging economic times. The event brings extra business to many local restaurants, shops, bed and breakfasts and inns, apple orchards and wineries and businesses along the routes into the village. Many who discover Warwick for the first time at Applefest return to enjoy and shop in our town again. “The Applefest Committee and its sponsoring organizations appreciate the patience and cooperation of Warwick residents for this one day each year,” Hutchison added. - Roger Gavan