Annual Apple Fest builds community

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., Oct. 3, 2013
Enfield Apple Fest and Blessing of the Animals
(L-r) Robert Dynak, Ida Hoffman and Ron Gregory, Sr., sell pies at the annual Apple Festival and Blessing of the Animals event at Grace Episcopal Church in Broad Brook. Hoffman was one of about five women who made about a dozen pies each for the sale. Photos by Annie Gentile.

The return of crisp, fall weather is no reason to stay inside - especially when venturing out might include enjoying a sampling of corn chowder, chili, hot dogs and burgers on the grill, and hot apple pie for dessert. Visitors to the annual Apple Fest and Blessing of the Animals - on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Grace Episcopal Church on Old Ellington Road in Broad Brook - got all of that and then some.

“We’re really a small church, but we’re a tight-knit family,” said church member Carol Devine, who, along with Marilyn Stolinas, helped out at the food booth. Devine said that years ago the church had been part of a larger group of churches, but when they struck out on their own, their focus shifted more toward mission work. That work includes, among other things, providing support to the Five Corner Cupboard, which is East Windsor’s food pantry, and to working with the town’s Social Services Department to provide backpacks and school supplies to children in need at the start of each school year.

The church also provided its space and the draw of the festival to allow other groups the opportunity to fundraise for their own good causes.

Paula Stolinas managed the popular kids’ booth, which provided some fall activities for children. The Sunday school children also sold their homemade dog biscuits and fresh eggs, the proceeds of which go toward renovation costs and supplies for the East Windsor dog pound.

“Every fall, the Sunday school children feed the homeless in Bushnell Park. They make the sandwiches and they go to the park to distribute them,” Devine said. “It’s a learning experience about giving.” Devine said Grace Episcopal Church also does a lot of work for the Connecticut Bishops’ Fund for Children, and all the money raised for that fund stays in Connecticut to help Connecticut families.

At another booth, Donna Donnelly, a parent of an East Windsor High School music student, kept busy selling chrysanthemums of every style and color. The proceeds from the “Mums for Music” sales went to benefit the East Windsor High School band.

There were also several tag sale and craft tables, with center stage going to a huge table filled with homemade apple pies. Ida Hoffman was one of about five women who made 10 to 12 apple pies each for the event, and they were selling out fast. “We’ve been doing this annual fundraiser for probably 10 or 12 years,” said Hoffman.

Rounding out the event was live music provided by local singer Jeannie Pomeroy. “This is my first year doing this,” said Pomeroy. “I grew up in town and I’m flattered that they asked me,” she said.

“We do a lot of things,” said Devine of the 45- to 50-member church family. “It’s really what makes things fun.”

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