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Apple Splash Festival is bigger and better

The 2017 Apple Splash Festival got off to a strong start on Saturday, Sept. 16, in the chalk art area, with guest artists and school age art contest participants working hard throughout the day to complete their pieces. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia

In its second year, the Apple Splash Festival in Somerset is looking to provide even more family fun and attract more people.

"One of the themes that is coming out of our Rivers & Roads research is that community members want more family events in town so that they don't have to travel to another community to find them," said Somerset Community Foundation Chair Kym Dunleap. "This festival fits that desire and is a good example of that family fun. But this festival is also meant to bring in people from the surrounding area to see what Somerset is like, as well as to discover and explore."

This year's Apple Splash — which is a collaboration between the Somerset Chamber and the Somerset Community Foundation — will take place on Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Somerset Amphitheater. Events going on all weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. include: chalk art exhibit and experience, food trucks and booths, live music, artists and business booths, ATV/UTV and boat display, Kidz Corner with petting zoo, beer and wine garden (12-5 p.m.) and open volleyball courts. A free screening of "The Greatest Showman" at the amphitheater will kick off the weekend's events from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14. The festival will supply chairs and tables for the screening.

"Somerset is working really hard on helping people tell their story. We want to focus on the positive and we want families, and all ages and people, to come visit us," said Somerset Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beckah Whitlock. "We want to share in all the great things we offer in our community. We want you to stop and come visit us."

Saturday's events will feature a beer and wine sampling event (2-4 p.m.), bingo (3 p.m.), ATV/UTV poker run (12-2 p.m.) and a bean bag tournament. There will also be a pasta feed, featuring a silent auction and live music by 2 Mile Final, to support the community foundation on Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at Maggie's Saloon on the grounds of the Somerset Amphitheater. The beer and wine sampling will feature five local breweries — including Oliphant Brewing, St. Croix Brewing and Ladonia Brewing — and two local wineries.

The Apple Splash races — which start at 8 a.m. and include half-marathon, 5K and kids one-mile — will kick off Sunday's events, which will also feature a car show (1-4 p.m.), bingo (3 p.m.), ATV/UTV poker run (12-2 p.m.) and a bean bag tournament.

"I think our niche for this festival is performing arts in a variety of areas and visual arts," Whitlock said. "We have expanded our artists and vendor booths this year, and tried to find more interactive creativity, like a makers market, so people can make things and take them home."

The festival will also be bringing back the chalk art exhibit and experience this year, with 10 chalk artists being brought in to show off their skills.

"This year will be exciting for the chalk art exhibit and experience because we are bringing back a chalk artist from Somerset High School who was discovered at least year's event," said Whitlock. "She moved to Minneapolis and is traveling around with one of the other artists from last year."

Attendees can buy a professional set of chalk and try their hand at chalk art themselves.

This year's festival will also allow attendees to make their way to the amphitheater grounds in a new way this year, with ATV/UTVs being allowed — using the Somerset ATV/UTV map/trails. Special parking will be available for ATV/UTVs. In addition, there will also be an ATV/UTV poker run on Saturday and Sunday, which will be run by the ATV/UTV Club.

For more information, and to register for the Apple Splash races, visit applesplashfestival.com.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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