Appleseed Festival

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Appleseed (Johnny) Festival

Third full weekend in September
A legend in his own time, John Chapman—better known as "Johnny Appleseed"—was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1774. Although facts about his early life are hard to come by, there is a story that he fell in love with a woman named Dorothy Durand and that the families of the two lovers were bitter enemies. When Dorothy's family moved West, Johnny followed. But she died of a broken heart before he found her, the legend says, and many years later he returned to place apple blossoms on her grave.
Chapman knew that there was money to be made in the apple nursery business. By the 1790s he was planting apple trees in western Pennsylvania, and by the turn of the century, he'd moved on to Ohio. He had an uncanny knack for selecting the most advantageous spot near a new settlement, begging or leasing a plot of land to plant his trees, and then selling the saplings to frontier farmers.
Ironically, his trees and apples were never of the best quality, because he refused to improve his stock by grafting superior branches onto his seedlings. One settler in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Chapman arrived in 1834, complained that his apples were "so sour they would make a pig squeal." It was supposedly in Fort Wayne that he died in 1845, although no one is certain exactly where he is buried.
Chapman has been commemorated in Fort Wayne since 1974 with a two-day fall festival held at Johnny Appleseed Park. The festival includes traditional music and entertainment, demonstrations of pioneer arts and crafts, visits to the alleged gravesite, and discussions with "The Living Lincoln," who talks with visitors about the social issues of the period in history he shared with Johnny Appleseed.
Johnny Appleseed Festival Inc.
1502 Harry Beals Dr.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
260-427-6003; fax: 260-427-6020
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Live entertainment includes musical groups and bands from the high school, middle and elementary schools, the Veterans International Chorus, Beatles for Sale and the Johnny Appleseed Festival Big Band.