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Johnny Appleseed Festival

The legend of Johnny Appleseed meets the excitement of fall during Johnny Appleseed Festival in Downtown Crystal Lake.

In the 1800s, John Chapman, a frontier nurseryman, introduced apple trees to several states, including Illinois, according to This fascinating character was also an avid storyteller, friend of Native Americans, missionary and insect enthusiast. He’s become such a folk hero of American history and conservation, that many towns pay homage to him this time of year.

And for 22 years now, Downtown Crystal Lake/Main Street has celebrated his legend with our very own Johnny Appleseed Festival. You are invited to see what it’s all about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, September 26.

Capture the spirit of fall during the fest with pony rides, wagon rides, petting zoo, moonwalk, pumpkin train, amusement rides, pumpkin train, clowns, facepainters and heritage demonstrations. You will even find Johnny Appleseed himself strolling the streets with tales and treats for the kids.

Don’t miss the library’s storytelling corner, student martial arts and dance demos, a pie-eating contest, apple pie baking contest, craft fair, police and fire vehicles, plus the farmers market with food a court and live music at Depot Park.

At 3 p.m., Johnny Appleseed Festival culminates with the Great Ball Race on Brink Street, an exciting spectacle of colorful balls racing down from the top of the hill. Tickets are available for purchase, and if your ball wins, you take home $1,000! New this year is the Great BIG Ball Race held immediately after the main event. Representatives from five local businesses and service organizations will be racing up the Brink Street hill as spectators cheer them on!

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