Apple ‘N Pork 2022

For over 50 years, the Apple and Pork festival held on the last full weekend of September has defined Clinton. I have lived in Clinton and DeWitt County since 1990, and I am still amazed how one weekend can define a community.

We had moved to town and rented a house on far western Woodlawn near Route 51. Thirty two years ago I was driving between Sesser, Springfield and Clinton on an almost daily basis. I simply didn’t drive by the Homestead and had no clue what Apple and Pork was all about. On Saturday morning my wife sends me to Dave’s to get a gallon of milk.

I will always remember running into a traffic jam worthy of Chicago at rush hour. I finally got that gallon of milk and went home to a wife who asked me what took so long. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to explain to your wife that you were stuck in a traffic jam in Clinton, Illinois?

It wasn’t until we attended church services the next day that we learned what Apple & Pork was all about. Unfortunately, we did not attend the festival that first year in town. That would change as we became more involved in the community.

That second year in town I would be parking cars for the Christian Church’s programs. I got to observe the festival and was greatly impressed. Many towns have festivals and those events are important to those communities. My observations were that those festivals actually benefitted one or two organizations in the community. We moved here from Sesser, Illinois. Sesser has its Homecoming festival every June. The multiday event is well attended and certainly benefits the community. However, the festival is sponsored by and for the benefit of the Homecoming Association.

Don’t misunderstand me, the Homecoming Association does many things to benefit the community of Sesser, but it is one organization. Apple & Pork was different. Yes, the Homestead was the impetus and primary sponsor, but it was so different from the festivals that I was familiar with.

Give credit to the group that started Apple & Pork and set in motion this wonderful festival. Individuals like John Viers and Tom Bray and so many others. This was to be a community wide event that celebrated the harvest and the community. The Homestead was a focal point of the fundraising, but all nonprofits were invited to participate in the festival. Everybody was to benefit.

The Homestead may have been the umbrella, but each organization was afforded the opportunity to excel and fund its programs. The concept was marvelous and all organizations benefited. For over 50 years the model has worked and it should readily reach the century mark, provided no one messes with the model.

When I go back to Onarga and Thawville where I grew up I am asked about Apple & Pork. At the courthouse in Lincoln, I have been asked every Thursday for the last several weeks about Apple and Pork and what the dates were this year. This festival is known throughout Illinois. A town of 7500 swells to 80 to 100,000 for a two day festival. That is unheard of, but it is the reality of Apple and Pork. Those community minded men and women in the 1960’s developed the best promotion possible for Clinton and DeWitt County. They invited central Illinois to come and celebrate the harvest and have a great time.

A time of great food, entertainment, and novelties in a safe community. There are no admission fees and no hard sells. Our guests get to see a community at its finest and feel like they are a part of it, because they truly are part of Clinton for that day and hopefully many more days in the future.

If you are physically able, go to Apple and Pork this weekend. A country breakfast is there for the early birds. Pulled pork, ham and beans. Funnel cakes, brats, root beer, and free entertainment. You will meet your friends and make new ones—all in a very safe environment. There is no better place to support your community and have a great time doing it. Enjoy.


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