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Apple 'n Pork Festival returns to Clinton Sept. 25-26

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CLINTON — The Apple 'n Pork Festival will be back in business Sept. 25 and 26 at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum in Clinton. 

Last year, the board of directors decided to cancel the festival due to COVID. DeWitt County relies heavily on the festival to survive, so the community came together and did what they could to have a little taste of tradition, holding a drive-thru version of the festival instead. Cars lined up all the way through the town square. 

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Workers continue to get the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum ready for The Apple 'n Pork Festival. The Apple 'n Pork Festival will return the last weekend of September at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum in Clinton.

"It was actually much easier to put a festival together than to take one apart," said DeWitt County Museum Director Joey Long. "We started planning in January 2020, and we never could've imagined this would've lasted this long. Then, January 2021 the vaccine came and we went in with a positive attitude. Now here we are just a few weeks away."

There are currently no outdoor capacity restrictions in Illinois, and the festival will follow guidance from local health experts. Attendees and volunteers will be encouraged to wear masks, use hand-washing and sanitizing stations, and practice social distancing.

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Workers continue to get the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum ready for The Apple 'n Pork Festival. 

The first Apple 'n Pork festival took place in 1967 and was established by the DeWitt County Museum Association. The organization had begun the restoration of the C.H. Moore Homestead, which was in terrible condition at the time, and they needed money to turn it into a museum. Someone had the idea to have a small fundraiser. 

"All they had the first year was a single kettle of soup and a stack of sandwiches out on the front lawn," Long said. "Now it has developed into one of the biggest and highly attended festivals in Central Illinois."

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Workers continue to get the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum ready for The Apple 'n Pork Festival. 

The festival usually averages about 80,000 people; however, in both 2018 and 2019 it was estimated that 120,000 people came out for the festival in a town with an estimated population of 7,000.

"I don't really know what to expect attendance-wise this year," Long said. "I'm sure we will be welcoming a lot of people back that have missed us and I'm sure there will be people who have not attended the event before. We're just going to have to see."

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Workers continue to get the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum ready for The Apple 'n Pork Festival. The Apple 'n Pork Festival will return the last weekend of September at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum in Clinton.

Long describes the festival as an old-fashioned, family-friendly celebration of harvest, history and hospitality. 

The festival will include an antique tractor show, museum tours for regular admission prices ($5 adults, $2 ages 12-18, 11 and under free), wood-carving demonstrations, Abraham Lincoln impersonator, art show, live music, clog dancers, Victorian magician, flea market, pony rides, carriage barn, a farm machinery exhibit and more.

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Workers continue to get the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum ready for The Apple 'n Pork Festival. The Apple 'n Pork Festival will return the last weekend of September at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum in Clinton.

There will be 20 food booths sponsored by the museum and local nonprofits, with fare including the signature ham and beans, caramel apple sundaes, apple Danish, gingerbread cookies, brats, pork sandwiches, apple butter, homemade candy, potatoes, corn on the cob, fried apples, sausage gravy, an entire breakfast menu and more.

"I've attended this festival since I was a little girl. I've always liked that the festival serves as a sort of homecoming for the community," Long said. "You will run into old teachers, classmates and neighbors on the ground. It's really about the people and sense of community."

The museum is currently under construction, with the floors and porch decking being redone, along with painting and other repair work. Construction is scheduled to be completed right before the festival.

"Often you hear you need to change traditions with the times, and in our case we have just come up with a formula that seems to please people," Long said. "I think people like the familiarity because they know what to expect, they know it will be a lot of fun and that they can bring their kids."

The festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Sept. 26. 

"If it weren't for the volunteers, there's no way we could put on a festival," Long said. "Hopefully we will have a little taste of community pride and community coming together again this year and seeing people, which we haven't had much of that in the last year and a half. I think a lot people are looking forward to this gathering."

For more information, find the "Apple 'n Pork Festival" page on Facebook or call 217-935-6066.

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Contact Olivia Jacobs at (309)-820-3352.

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