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What Exactly is a Pippin?

Sally Thomas & Linda Junker

(9/1) As autumn approaches, folks in Fairfield begin to prepare for Pippinfest, the town's annual fall festival held every year during the last weekend in September. This year, Pippinfest takes place on September 28 and 29. The Committee has been preparing all year! 2013 marks the 33rd year for Fairfield's annual festival.

Pippinfest was started in 1980 by David Thomas, then owner and proprietor of the Fairfield Inn. The idea was born of his dedication to the community of Fairfield and its heritage. As a way to bring the townspeople together, local clubs and school groups were invited to participate in a community-wide celebration of the apple harvest. That spirit lives on and we are grateful to David Thomas for his many years of community service, and his commitment to the people of Fairfield. For many of Fairfield’s non-profit organizations, Pippinfest continues to be their main fundraiser of the year. We are proud to continue the tradition and are grateful for David Thomas' vision and energy he devoted to making Pippinfest a part of Fairfield's heritage.

Pippinfest is a way to showcase the community, to share what a very special place Fairfield is, a small town with friendly people. This year members of the Pippinfest Committee decided to give a gift to the Borough of Fairfield in the form of two "Welcome to Fairfield" signs to be placed at either end of Main Street. Amelia Rodriguez and Mike Brown contributed the initial designs. The design was reviewed and "tweaked" by full Committee and submitted to the Borough Council, which recently gave its stamp of approval. It is the goal of the Pippinfest committee to have the signs completed and in place by Pippinfest 2014.

For Pippinfest 2013, over 100 craft and food vendors are expected. High-quality, juried crafts will line Main Street, and some will demonstrate their art during the day. Attendees at Pippinfest can look for the ever-popular, familiar faces of vendors who have returned year after year. Many new vendors will make an appearance as well, offering appealing new crafts and food items. We also have an exciting line-up of musicians with a focus on period music from the 19thcentury. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fairfield, the old-time music and musicians will add to the festive atmosphere that makes Fairfield come alive on Pippinfest Sunday.

Entertainment for kids (and those older folks still young at heart) includes clowns, courtesy of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Strawberry Hill's ambassadors of nature, and a roving stilt walker. This year's "tall man about town" is none other than Honest Abe Lincoln! At over seven feet tall, he won't be difficult to spot as he roams about town, but folks might have to stretch their arms really high to shake his hand!

Also in conjunction with the Sesquicentennial, a self-guided walking tour of the historic homes located within the borough will be available during Pippinfest weekend. The tour was developed using Gettysburg historian Tim Smith’s research on Fairfield’s Civil War homes. Each home on the tour is marked, and a brochure is available with descriptions of the homes. The walking tour brochures are free and can be obtained at the information booth in front of the Village Hall.

In the Village Hall, a quilt show hosted by the Stitch and Peace club will display beautiful hand-made quilts. Alongside the ladies' handiwork will be a display entitled, "Pippinfest Pottery through the Years." This display showcases the commemorative pottery made each year for Pippinfest, with all 33 years of the pottery available for viewing.

This tradition from the very early years of Pippinfest continues, with the offering of unique Pippinfest pottery. In honor of the festival, the Committee has commissioned an area potter to create a special piece of limited edition pottery to commemorate that year’s event. For the second consecutive year Fairfield potter Jack Handshaw, owner of Hobbit House Pottery, has been selected. His design will be featured on the Pippinfest website in the near future. Each piece is signed and numbered, and will be offered for sale at the information booth in front of Village Hall. Interested buyers can also contact the borough office at 717-642-5640 and pre-order their pottery in advance of Pippinfest weekend.

Oh yes…the answer to the question above…. A pippin is a variety of apple, brought to this country by the early settlers to the colonies. You can visit one of Fairfield’s few existing Pippin apple trees behind the Fairfield Inn on Miller Street. We look forward to seeing you the last weekend in September!! Please visit for additional information.

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