New Jersey apples are the stars of this Saturday's eighteenth annual Apple Festival at Lacey's , the and the grounds in between.
An intergenerational group, including township residents from seniors to high school students, joins together to freshly make all the apple desserts for sale during the popular event.
“The apples used for both pies and crisps are hand-picked earlier in the week by volunteers and the crust is a recipe from an ‘old-timer’ from Lacey,” said Ellie Greco, festival coordinator. “By Friday evening when the pies are baked, everyone is anxious to taste a pie. Everyone working gets a piece on Friday.”
The volunteers will head out this week to Strawberry Hill Farm in Chesterfield to pick 50 baskets of apples, enough to make more than 100 apple pies,100 individual tins of crisp and 10 to 12 large pans of delicious freshly baked dessert. There also will be fresh apples for sale.
The baking is overseen by Chef Joe Jakositz, a Lacey Township resident, who works in the Foods Program at the Brick Township Center of the Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools. The crisps will be made at the Waretown Center on Thursday and Friday. The apple pies are made at Lacey Township High School in the Home Economics Foods Preparation Room, with the apple peeling on Wednesday, crust preparation on Thursday, and assembling and baking on Friday.
Eleanor Ditton, past president of the Historical Society and current Treasurer, said there is always much anticipation in the community for the Apple Festival.
“It’s a nice hometown crowd,” said Ditton. “A lot of people look forward to it and come out with their children.”
The festival features games, crafts, foods, demonstrations, pumpkin picking, contests and music. While there is no charge to enter, some activities require tickets, which sell at 50 cents each.
One of the highlights of the day is the Any-Which-Way Apple Pie Contest, open to all, but broken into two different categories, 18 and under and then over 18. Winners will take home cash prizes.
Those attending are asked to also bring a donation for the Lacey Food Bank, which will have a table set up at the festival.
Money raised during the event will pay for the Historical Society scholarship. Each year since 2000, one Lacey Township High School senior who plans to go into the vocation of history has been awarded the$1,000 college scholarship.
The money also will be used to support operation of the Lacey Schoolhouse Museum, 126 South Main Street in Forked River. The old schoolhouse was built in 1868 and was in use until 1952 when a new grade school was built. The Historical Society was formed in 1962 to preserve the old schoolhouse and make it a museum.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to help on Saturday or with any of the baking may call 609-242-0754.