Thousands enjoy 40th annual Grand Rapids Apple Butter Festival

GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Whether for the music, the history or the apple butter, thousands filled downtown Grand Rapids for the famed Apple Butter Festival.

Celebrating its 40th year, the annual event is focused on apples, but many come for the historic small town atmosphere.

"It's just a very welcoming, warm, inviting place," said one festival goer. "There's lots to see and lots to do."

"It's interactive," said another. "You can stir the apple butter. You can walk up and down the canal."

The 'claim to fame' at the annual festival is the apple butter. And while the ingredient list is short, it's a process that takes some time.

"It's cooked the way it was done hundreds of years ago," said Michael Bailey.

He's helped make the apple butter that so many enjoy for 15 years.

"They actually take the apples, peel them, take the seeds out, and then chop them up into small pieces," Bailey said of the process.

Bailey says the secret to the fresh apple butter is slow cooking.

"We'll add like 13 or so bushels into the pot [and] cook it for six, seven hours," said Bailey.

It's that century's old process that makes Grand Rapids Apple butter some of the best around.