GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio (WTVG) - The streets of Grand Rapids are quiet for now, but in just a few days, nearly 50,000 people are expected to fill the streets and shops for the Applebutter Fest. Of course, it's a big tradition for people who live in northwest Ohio, but also for the shop-owners.
April Olman owns The Providence House in downtown Grand Rapids. This will be her 11th Applebutter Fest. And with just 5 days to go, she has a long to-do list.
She explains, “Making sure everything has tags on it, making sure everything is clean and spiffy and getting out all my best inventory."
Her inventory: handmade jewelry, plus lots of antiques. And during the Applebutter Fest, the streets of Grand Rapids are lined with artists, crafters, food vendors and live entertainment. And of course, Applebutter churning. While admission is free, the event gives a much-needed boost the shops along Front Street.
Olman says, "January, February and March, it's slow down here. And the money that we make at the Applebutter Festival, Christmas Openhouse, Light up the Night, those last three big events for the season really keep this little town afloat during the lean season."
The festival draws more people every year. This year, organizers expect nearly 50,000 visitors. But what keeps people coming back?
Joe Schroeder owns The Village Orchard and the Just For You Shop. He also serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Applebutter Fest. "I think it's the charm of the town overall,” he says. “Grand Rapids is a town for all seasons. We have a beautifully restored downtown, we're located right alongside the Maumee River. The Applebutter Fest is just a bonus for everybody to really enjoy."
And that’s exactly what April Olman says she loves about the town: "There aren't too many communities like this anymore. And when we all get together for the Applebutter Festival, it gives you that real sense of home."