“We’re here again to help the nonprofit organizations to meet or exceed their budgets for the year,” Tosti said. “That money stays here on Saturday night, it doesn’t leave town. That’s why we’re here.” Tosti said there were no other motivations behind the previous two years’ cancellations other than trying to look out for the public safety as best as possible, as the festival has always been about a homecoming of sorts and bringing far-flung families back together.
After two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Apple Festival will return to Paintsville this fall for its 58th edition. According to Apple Board Chairman Ray Tosti, the festival will continue to serve local non-profit organisations and will be held on September 30 and October 1, a Friday and Saturday. Tosti stated that the festival will keep its traditional format, including a carnival, food booths, arts and crafts, and all of its traditional events.
“The two years we didn’t have it, was because of the COVID virus, we just wanted to play it safe. Like my son that lives in Colorado said, ‘The Apple Festival is like a giant homecoming, Dad,’ … you don’t come home on the Fourth of July, Memorial, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. If you want to see anybody you come home for the Apple Festival,” Tosti said. “It’s like a giant family reunion … we’re hometown people, we just wanted to do what was right.”
Another issue Tosti wanted to address was a rumor he had heard that the Apple Board sets the food prices for nonprofit food booths — which he said was untrue, as the only function the board serves in this capacity is to make sure that the various nonprofit food vendors can agree on some form of standardization in their per-item prices to eliminate unnecessary competition.
After the cancellations of the previous two years, Tosti said he believed there were questions about which he wanted to provide clarity — one being that the Apple Board is indeed a public entity and all meetings are regularly scheduled and open to the public, taking place on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Paintsville Annex Building at 5 p.m. Tosti said each aspect of the festival is governed by different board members who are in charge of different parts of the festival, from food booths to arts and crafts and beyond.
“We do not set the prices. We have a concession meeting in July, with all of the nonprofits that are selling food, and at that meeting, hypothetically, if both clubs are selling hamburgers, one group can’t say they’re going to sell their hamburgers for $2.50 and another set their price at $2, you have to agree at that meeting to sell at the same price,” Tosti said. “What I’ve told the nonprofits all of these years is that what you have to remember is that you’ve got families that are married with two kids, and how are they going to feed their whole family if a funnel cake is $10. Are you going to pay $40 for four funnel cakes … I’ve always told them to please keep their prices low.”
Tosti asked that anyone looking for information regarding the festival visit the Apple Board’s website online at, www.kyapplefest.org, or call the Johnson County Public Library at, (606)789-4355, or his own phone number at, (606) 789-7430, and leave a message.