Medford apple festival at Kirby’s Mill celebrates its 42nd year

After cancellation last year, event focuses on history of the township

The Medford Historical Society hosts the annual Medford apple festival at Kirby’s Mill. Now in its 42nd year, the event allows local residents of all ages to enjoy fall with games, vendors and food.

Medford Township held its annual apple festival last weekend and marked the event’s 42nd  anniversary.

The festival invited residents of all ages to browse many different types of vendors spread throughout the lawn at Kirby’s Mill.  

Last year, the festival and other events held by the Medford Historical Society were canceled due to COVID. The festival is hosted every year by the historical society, a nonprofit,   and presented by ShopRite of Medford. The Kirby’s Mill historic site celebrates and honors  Medford’s history and the fall season. 

Months before the events, vendors apply to the apple festival committee, including the secretary of the Medford Historical Society Kelly Maguire, so it can decide which ones will be present. The vendor application can include crafters from New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania, with 120 plus present at the event. This year, 10 percent of the vendors at the festival were from Medford Township, according to Maguire, and included jewelers, crafters, home-decor items, pet supplies and fashion.

The apple festival is known to draw thousands of visitors, and it did not fall short this year. Many guests spent the afternoon playing games, shopping and dancing to live music by Jennifer Mylod and the Boys of County O’cean. 

Unfortunately, Kirby’s Mill was not open to the public during the event because of its  small amount of space and necessary COVID safety precautions. Although the inside of the mill was closed, Maguire spoke on the importance of the festival being held at Kirby’s Mill historic site and being back after the past year.

“It brings attention back to the fact that we have this gem of a historic building in our town,” Maguire explained. “And that it has a lot to offer by way of the history of how Medford began.”

During the event, National Honor Society students from Shawnee High School and other students in need of community-service hours helped with the event. Along with students, local Boy Scout Troop 48 and other volunteers offered a hand as well.

Maguire remarked on what the Medford Historical Society hopes residents take away from the event. 

“We hope they go away and they’re happy and they enjoyed themselves while they were there,” he said, “And that they’ll come back and see us at another time.”