by Brittni Bates, Director, Mt. Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce
Apple Butter Makin’ Days (ABMD) is a valued tradition that has continued for more than five decades in Mount Vernon, Missouri. The food and craft festival is scheduled for its 57th year Oct. 13, 14 and 15, 2023. The beloved festival was voted Rural Missouri magazine’s 2023 Best Festival and has activities for the whole family and visitors of all ages.
ABMD attracts vendors and attendees from all over the country to Southwest Missouri where the highlight is stirring apple butter in copper kettles on the courthouse lawn just as the festival founders did in 1967. The festival began as a fundraiser for local churches, which remains the event’s primary purpose even today.
“The Apple Butter Makin’ Days Committee ensures we stay dedicated to the purpose of ABMD, which is to support the local nonprofit organizations’ fundraising efforts,” Mount Vernon Area Chamber of Commerce Director Brittni Bates said. “As the popularity of the festival has exploded over the years, it has proven to boost the economy on a regional scale, help increase tourism in Lawrence County and increase revenue generated for the entire area.”
The energetic atmosphere of this outdoor festival keeps the crowds coming back year after year. With 450 craft and food booths, visitors enjoy a wide variety of handmade crafts and fair-style foods with everything from turkey legs and funnel cakes to apple dumplings, caramel apples, and, of course, apple butter. Complete with live entertainment on the ABMD stage, games and contests, a parade, a KidZone and much more, it is an event everyone will love.
“We have nationally recognized bands performing, like Jake Stringer, Cory Waller & The Wicked Things, and local favorites, The Mark Chapman Band and Liz Moriondo Band,” Bates said. “With a record attendance last year of 100,000, we’re excited to make 2023 one for the record books, as well.
Friday morning’s schedule includes children’s games and contests comprising of terrapin and weenie dog races, nail driving and pie-eating contests, a children’s pedal tractor pull, a mustache and beard competition, and the ever-popular queen and princess contests.
“The Saturday morning ABMD parade features Shriner vehicles of all kinds, along with marching bands, floats, horses, antique cars and tractors,” Bates said. “We have nationally recognized bands performing all weekend long.”
Of course, it takes a coordinated effort from the entire community to make Apple Butter Makin’ Days a continued tradition and successful event. The City of Mount Vernon, along with a strong committee and hardworking volunteers, have made the ABMD festival a continued success for 57 years. Some community members have served on the ABMD committee for nearly 30 years. Round Grove Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon Christian Church and the Monett Lions work almost year ‘round to make enough apple butter to have available.
“There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for everyone who pitches in to make ABMD a huge success,” Bates said. “From city and county officials, first responders, business owners, sponsors and volunteers who donate time and/or services as well as everyone who makes and sells apple butter should be applauded for everything they do to keep ABMD the best festival of the year.”
Carrying on a legacy event like ABMD when so many other festivals have exhausted their longevity is a tribute to the citizens and businesses of Mount Vernon.
“This one weekend a year puts Mount Vernon on the must-see list for many people across the country. As a chamber, we support our local business growth and encourage economic vitality, and this is a catalyst to help keep those visitors and spending in our region,” Bates said.
Indeed, Mount Vernon is ready again this year to roll out the red carpet for all who are looking to have a great time at this jam-packed celebration.
Apple Butter Makin’ Days Fast Facts
When: Friday, Oct. 13-Sunday, Oct. 15
Where: Mount Vernon, Missouri, Courthouse Square
History: The original intention began as a community-oriented event to raise funds for local churches that would draw neighbors to the beautiful historic courthouse square.
Cost: There are no admission fees. Children’s games and activities, like the power wheels, knockerballs, bounce houses and games, have varying fees charged by the vendors. Food and crafts are also purchased at a fee charged by the vendor or crafter.
Complete event schedule/details are available on the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce website at www.mtvchamber.com.
Facebook: Apple Butter Makin’ Days (Official) page