As Binghamton transitions from summer into fall, Broome County embraces the new season with plenty of festivities and fairs to welcome autumn. This past Saturday marked the celebration of the Endicott Apple Festival, endearingly known as “Applefest,” where local businesses and residents gather in anticipation of the fall season.

Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Washington Avenue from North Street to Broad Street was closed off and filled with families, friends and students all eager to enjoy the products that more than 90 vendors have to offer. The festival featured local musicians, including Messy Truth and Alex VanTassel, and throughout the day, dance groups from Endicott-based dance companies performed to the live music.

This annual event is supported by sponsors such as Visions Federal Credit Union, BAE Systems and those who are fond of boosting the spirit of the community engagement in Endicott and the greater Broome County area.

Many businesses featured at Applefest are family businesses that distribute homemade products.

Megan Doven, of Mountainside Fruit Market from Choconut Township, Pennsylvania, drove with her family to Endicott to sell their products at the market. Her selection included homemade breads, desserts, pickled goods and fresh local produce. Doven runs this business with the help of her two sons and explained why she comes back to Applefest each year.

“It’s a great event [with] lots of great people, great food, vendors [and] music,” Doven said. “It seems to get bigger and bigger every year.”

Applefest also serves as a great opportunity for small businesses to build a relationship with customers in the area.

Chaz Ramlal, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, spoke further on the community built at Applefest and the importance of engagement with Broome County as a student.

“I feel like there’s a lot of bigger corporate franchises here in Binghamton,” Ramlal said. “Giving back to the people that actually put in the work and try to do something good is more than respectable, so I try to give back to them.”

Events like Applefest introduce these customers to businesses in the area that offer products with locally sourced ingredients, stimulating the economy here in Broome County. The event has been a wonderful way to bring families together, and provides the perfect opportunity to find new customers.

Sheryl Bell and her family, Endicott residents, own and operate Daffodil Hill Bakery in Endicott, a shop highly acclaimed by its customers for its quality pastries and desserts. For the last several years, Bell and her family have brought many homemade pies to Applefest.

“My favorite part [of Applefest] is the people and meeting the community,” Bell said. “It’s fun because a lot of families help with my business, and it’s just a fun thing to do together.”

Applefest is an annual tradition in Endicott and has expanded rapidly with new vendors, performers and customers each and every year — it is the fall festival you cannot miss.