LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. - You'll find much more than "an apple a day" at the Olde Tyme Apple Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6 in downtown Versailles, Mo.
The first Old Tyme Apple Festival at Versailles was held in 1980 with a modest attendance and about 50 vendors. Since then, the festival has blossomed to become one of the largest and most well attended one-day family festivals in Missouri.
"Our festival has grown to have attendance figures from 8,000-10,000 each year and last year we had over 450 vendor booths," said Versailles Chamber of Commerce President Jim Dykzeul. "This year, there will be even more fun things for people to see and do at the festival. Our booth count will be the largest number we've ever recorded and our parade is going to be even bigger - due to an election year."
A different theme is chosen each year to keep the festival exciting and fresh. This year, visitors can expect a healthy dose of Caribbean fun at the festival due to a "Jamaican My Day" theme, complete with a reggae band and steel drums.
"The theme is just a fun way to get everyone involved and to make the festival unique," said Dykzeul. "To add to the Caribbean atmosphere, we've brought in Norman Riley and his steel drum band. They play everything from Bob Marley to Jimmy Buffett. They'll be performing at the festival and leading the parade."
The Olde Tyme Apple Festival parade is chock full of clowns, Shriners, bands, floats, horses, emergency and law enforcement vehicles, and much more. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels from Brown Road east to Highway 52, then down Newton Street to the Courthouse Square and then south on Fisher Street, west on Jasper Street, and then south on Monroe Street and DeKalb Street.
The pre-festival activities start on Friday, Oct. 5 with the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival at the Morgan County Courthouse, an apple pie baking contest, a presentation of the musical "9 to 5" at the Royal Theatre and a car cruise to a Sock Hop at the B & B Drive-In.
Versailles' Olde Tyme Apple Festival officially kicks off on Saturday with a Pancake Breakfast at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 6:30 a.m.
The Fun Zone for Kids will be open at 9 a.m. on North Monroe Street and boasts pony rides, bounce houses, face painting and more.
Apple-themed events include an apple sculpture contest for artists and an Apple Pie Baking Contest Auction where festival-goers can buy some of the award-winning contest pies. Other events and activities during the day include the Apple Festival 5K (7 a.m. at Versailles High School), a Car Show (at Versailles City Park), a Tractor and Engine display (located along Newton Street), street musicians, and the famous Olde Tyme Apple Festival Fiddle Contest at 1 p.m. at the Royal Theatre.
Festival attendees, depending on their interests, can choose their own festival finale at 7 p.m. - either a Compact Figure 8 Race at the Morgan County Fairgrounds on Highway 52 or an encore showing of "9 to 5" at the Royal Theatre.
A post-festival Olde Tyme Apple Festival Golf Tournament is also scheduled for noon Sunday, Oct. 7, at Rolling Hills Country Club, located at the junction of Highways 52 and 5.
For more information about the Olde Tyme Apple Festival or the pre-festival and post-festival activities, contact the Versailles Chamber of Commerce at 573-378-4401 or visit VersaillesChamber.com.