Apple Festival brings in over 75,000 attendees, local businesses thrive
NILES, Mich. --- The annual Four Flags Apple Festival in Niles ended on Sunday, after a weekend packed full of events.
There was the festival, a town parade, and new this year, a fireworks show.
“Having you know just grown up here and been here my whole life it’s just awesome to see the whole town come together,” said Jenna Rhynard, Apple Festival Board Member.
On the final day of the festival, the featured events were a lip sync show, apple pie eating contest and much more.
The Four Flags Chamber of Commerce said this festival is just one of many events that bring money to local businesses.
“We definitely bring in all kinds of different money for not just the vendors and the carnival but for us too,” Rhynard said. “We all put it back into the festival and to the community.”
Joe Dickman owns the Southwestern Michigan Buttery in neighboring Gailen. He said he’s had a booth at the Niles’ Apple Festival for the past 8 years.
“It has just been stupendous,” Dickman said.
He said his business is known for making low sugar alternatives for jams and jellies. They started with apple butter, but year after year continued to create more and provide a variety of products.
“When they come here and taste it and they taste the new variety we get every year it’s all exciting for them,” Dickman said.
He said from this weekend’s event, over a thousand people have bought jam from him and his wife. Festival officials say over 75,000 people attended the festival this year.
“But what’s neat is, we have people coming back year after year after year,” he said.
Earlier in the month store owners said they feared that once the festival and other events, bringing high volumes of people into the Niles area, ended that their shops would suffer because of it.
The Chamber of Commerce has tried to partner with other towns in hopes to give local business owners the opportunity to introduce their services to the surrounding community.
But Dickman said he is not worried about keeping the momentum up, now that the festival has ended.
“They’re not missing our product,” he said. “They’ll come here and buy at this time of year and then throughout the year they’ll go to stores where we’re carried.”