History of the Lincoln County Apple Festival
by Dorothy S. Johnson
The Lincoln County Apple Festival began as the result of an experience that Home Economics Agent, Melinda Houser, had with a strawberry festival in eastern North Carolina where she had worked previously. She suggested that Lincoln County have an Apple Festival, so together with Agricultural Extension Agent, Howard Waynick, and the apple growers, plans were made for Lincoln County’s first Apple Festival to be held in September of 1972 at the Boger City Methodist Church. Approximately 300 folks attended. It was decided that the Agriculture Extension Service should sponsor an annual Apple Festival.
The next two festivals were held in the National Guard Armory including entertainment and exhibits. With attendance and related activities increasing, the need for larger facilities prompted a move to West Lincoln High School in 1975 where food and craft vendors participated plus outstanding entertainment. In 1978, the Lincoln County Apple Festival was moved to downtown Lincolnton with approximately 30 booths and an approximate crowd of 8,000. It was that year that the Lincolnton Business and Professional Women’s Club sponsored the first Apple Queen Pageant, selecting a queen to reign over the festival
In 1982 and Apple Festival Steering Committee was formed to assist with preparations for the yearly event. In 1984, the Lincoln County Apple Festival was formerly incorporated with a board of directors.
The festival continues to grow each year with booth numbers increasing and with crowds seemingly getting larger. Attendance estimates range around 80,000. Currently the booth number total is approximately 175.