Apple Festival Grand Marshal Randy Heath (back) had the honor of recrowning the 2021 Jackson Apple Festival royalty during the festival’s Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday afternoon. Heath is shown crowning Queen Kaydee Brown (center) while First Attendant Kirsten Clark (left) and Second Attendant McKinley Morris watch. (Telegram Photo by Pete Wilson)
Apple Festival Grand Marshal Randy Heath (back) had the honor of recrowning the 2021 Jackson Apple Festival royalty during the festival’s Opening Ceremonies on Tuesday afternoon. Heath is shown crowning Queen Kaydee Brown (center) while First Attendant Kirsten Clark (left) and Second Attendant McKinley Morris watch. (Telegram Photo by Pete Wilson)

Yes, it really did “rain on the parade” at the Jackson Apple Festival, but even a very wet Wednesday could not ruin all the fun.

The 80th Annual Jackson Apple Festival battled through some dreary and wet days on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the sun emerged on Thursday and Friday to improve the situation. For Saturday’s (today’s) big finale day, the forecast calls for cloudy skies with a chance of late-afternoon showers, but with almost no chance of rain during the prime evening hours. Temperatures are expected to be on the mild side with daytime highs in the high 60s and evening temperatures in the low 60s.

The Jackson Apple Festival opened its five-day run Tuesday on the downtown streets of Jackson with Opening Ceremonies conducted at the Bellisio Foods Stage at 4 p.m.

The Jackson High School Marching Band, under the direction of Ryan Hurd, kicked off the Opening Ceremonies with a concert on the street.

Apple Festival President Brandon Davis then initiated the Opening Ceremonies and introduced Jackson Mayor Randy Evans, who offered welcoming words and recognized the Jackson Area Festivals and Events for conducting the festival. After that, representatives of Sixth District Congressman Bill Johnson and Ohio State Treasurer Robert Sprague presented written commendations to Davis, recognizing and congratulating the festival.

Jackson County Health Commissioner Kevin Aston then addressed the COVID-19 situation and provided advice on how to participate and attend the festival in the safest way possible. (See related story on Page A6.)

Davis then introduced the festival royalty: Queen Kaydee Brown, First Attendant Kirsten Clark, Second Attendant McKinley Morris and Little Miss Kennedy Knittel, who all made welcoming comments to the crowd.

Davis then introduced the grand marshal of the 2021 Jackson Apple Festival, Randy Heath, who for many years served as both the mayor of Jackson and the executive director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. Heath thanked the Apple Festival Committee for being named grand marshal and described it as “one of the greatest honors” he had ever received.

Heath then had the honor of crowning the festival royalty., Immediately following, the dignitaries on the stage together cut the red ribbon symbolizing the beginning of the 2021 Jackson Apple Festival.

The School Parade -- moved up from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m. -- was conducted in a steady rain, but the umbrellas came out and the show went on. The rain hung around for most of the afternoon and early evening, but finally stopped just as the Opening Parade got underway at 7:45 p.m. that evening. The parade emcees were veteran Apple Festival Committee member Bryan Davis and Tami Wyant, wife of longtime Apple Festival Committee member Joe Wyant.

There were some rain-related casualties on Wednesday as the Columbus Zoo canceled its appearance and the Oak Hill Marching Oaks canceled their afternoon performance. The Ice Cream Blizzard-Eating Contest was postponed and rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday. It was also determined that the school floats would not be judged until after the Grand Finale Parade on Saturday evening.

Musical performances were the big attraction on Thursday and Friday evenings with Parrots of the Caribbean, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, playing on Thursday evening and Nashville recording singer/songwriter Phil Vassar on Friday evening.

Contest Results Listed

A wide range of competitions and contests are conducted throughout the Jackson Apple Festival. Here are some of the results compiled by The Telegram through Thursday’s schedule:

The Jackson Apple Festival announced the winners of its annual Booth Decorating and Window Decorating competitions on Tuesday afternoon, the first day of the five-day festival.

Taking first place in the Booth Decorating contest was Westview Elementary School. The second-place award for booths went to Southview Elementary School and third place to Aeron Johnson Photography.

In the Window Decorating Contest, first place went to The Healing Hippie and second place to Picture Perfect.

In the Apple-Peeling Contest, Betty Tilley successfully defended her title with a 62-inch peel to take first place. Tammy Kent took second place with a 48-inch peel and Tim Tilley took third place with a 42.5-inch peel.

In the always popular Lip Sync Contest on Tuesday evening, there were winners named in two different age divisions. In the ages 13 and under division, first-place honors went to the team of Emily Wiggins, Kiersten Snyder, Bralee Lyons, Haley Ross and Tyler Wiggins. Second place went to Kiptyn Kelly and third place to the team of Kate Stockmeister, Ellie Parker and Reagan Farrar. In the ages 14 and up division, Jeri Baisden won first-place honors while Mary McGuire was second and the duo of Elder Hood and Elder Bangerter was third.

In the Apple Festival Got Talent Contest held on Wednesday night, Mikayla Lodwick finished in first place while Derrick Allison won second place and Tyler Wiggins third place.

In the Wings-Eating Contest on Thursday afternoon, Chris Armstrong chomped his way to first place with The Radio’s Matt McKee taking second place.

Saturday’s Festival Schedule

Saturday’s schedule for the Jackson Apple Festival is as follows:

7 a.m.: Registration for Apple 5K Run at the General Mills Stage.

8 a.m.: Apple 5K Run starts at the General Mills Stage - Sponsored by Jackson Area Kiwanis Club.

9 a.m.: Pretty Baby Contest at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by Mayhew-Brown Funeral Home.

10 a.m.: Annual Apple Festival Volleyball Tournament at the JHS Gym - Trophy sponsored by Cole, Kirby & Associates.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.: J-Town Cruise-In at Manpower Park, Main Street - Sponsored by Apple City Motorcycle Club.

11 a.m.: Little Queens Contest at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by Ohio Valley Bank.

12 p.m.: 7-Mile Bluegrass at the General Mills Stage - Sponsored by ServPro of Jackson and Gallia and Geargrinders.

12 p.m.: Farm Bureau Hog Wild Contest at the Bellisio Foods Stage.

12:15 pm.: Ohio Valley Bank’s Little Queen Contest Crowning at the Bellisio Foods Stage.

1 p.m.: JHS Band Festival at the JHS Alumni Stadium.

1 p.m.: Rollerblade and Roller Roo at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by Cavalier Roller Rink.

3 p.m.: Rockin’ Reggie at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by Slark’s Collision Center.

3 p.m.: The Twylights at the General Mills Stage - Sponsored by Dave’s Cleaning Service.

5 p.m.: OFEA Queens Reception Held at Christ United Methodist Church - Sponsored by Holzer Health System.

5 p.m.: Red Brush Band at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by Jackson County Banking Center.

6 p.m.: Brian Jarvis and Hard Cider Hillbillies at the General Mills Stage - Sponsored by U-Store-It.

7:15 p.m.: Dynamic Mention Drum Corps at the Bellisio Foods Stage - Sponsored by 84 Lumber.

7:45 p.m.: Grand Finale Parade, over 175 units with Band Competition, Float Judging, Ohio Festivals and Events Queens (By Invitation Only) - Sponsored by General Mills.

9:45 p.m.: Announcement of Parade Winners and Presentation of Trophies and Awards - Sponsored by Wagner Tool Rental.

10 p.m.: Announcement of Raffle Winners.

11 p.m.: Festival Official Closing for 2021.