NORTH READING — It’s here! The annual Apple Festival, a highlight on everyone’s fall calendar, is this Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Rev. Daniel Putnam House grounds, 27 Bow Street. The rain date is Sunday, September 18 but as of press time a picture-perfect day is being forecast for Saturday.

So who bakes the best apple pie in town? You’ll have to come on down to the Apple Festival to find out! It’s one of the highlights of the event. As always, the Apple Pie Contest is open to North Reading residents only in two age categories – Youth (ages 12-17) and Adult (ages 18+).

This year’s Apple Pie Contest judges are Norcam Executive Director Rob Carbone, Norcam Public Access Coordinator Phil Healy, and North Reading Transcript Editor Maureen Doherty. After the blind taste test, winners will be announced at noon, after which slices of all entry pies will be available for sale with an optional scoop of Richardson’s vanilla ice cream to top them off.

Pie sales are not limited to just the contest entries as many Society members also donate their own freshly baked pies to the festival. See complete Apple Pie Contest rules listed in today’s Transcript.


Admission is free and visitors to the Apple Festival can visit dozens of local vendors, view works of local artists set up inside the West Village School and take a chance on the art raffle or art silent auction, sample great food, enjoy pony rides and fun games for the kids, listen to great music, and experience wonderful local performances.

Ten pieces of original artwork by local artists donated to the Historical Society for either its raffle or silent auction have been on display at the Flint Memorial Library for the past month. Raffle tickets are still a bargain at $1 each or 6 for $5.

Take advantage of the free tours of the historic buildings on the Putnam House grounds, which include the Sgt. George Flint House (circa 1680) and the 1840s-era West Village School, which now has an accessible ramp. Be sure to check out the First Meeting House (circa 1717), the Shoe and Tin Shop, the North Reading Farm Museum, the early 1900s barn, and of course, the 1720 Putnam House.

After you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to stop by the BBQ hosted by the North Reading Minit and Militia whose members have restored many of the buildings on the Putnam House grounds. The newest addition to the grounds is the flagpole, erected last year by Minit and Militia members and friends from remnants of the flagpole that stood on the town common for decades. It has been enhanced with the installation of cobblestones and bricks at its base.


The Apple Festival would not be complete without local performers and this year is no exception. Please note that times and performers listed below are subject to change:

  • 10:15AM: North Reading High School Band
  • 10:45AM: NOTEorious a cappella singers
  • 1:45AM: North Reading School of Ballet
  • 12:20PM: Aldersgate UMC Praise Band
  • 12:50PM: Taekwondo – Master Shin Marshal Arts Institute
  • 1:50PM: Cervizzi’s Martial Arts Academy.


Each year, vendor booths and tables dot the expansive lawn at the Putnam House during the Apple Festival. This year, more than 30 vendors are prepared to offer their wares and information about their organizations to visitors.

Vendors include local artist Louise Anderson, local honey vendor Gus Lamont, local crafters: Diane Bruno, Rosanne Burton, Mary Dennehy-Colorusso, Jane Hudgins & Miriam Morales, Robert Lexth, Sandy Panico, Richard Parkhurst & Kathy McNamara, and Amy deVore Salomon; and local politician state Representative Brad Jones Jr.

Local organizations: North Reading Boy Scouts, North Reading Girl Scouts, North Reading Community Impact Team (CIT), North Reading Cultural Council, North Reading Human Rights Group, North Reading Recycling Committee, North Reading Sustainability Group, North Reading Republican Town Committee, North Reading Friends of the Council on Aging, North Reading Boston Post Cane Committee, Mt. Carmel Order of Eastern Star, Ipswich River Community Chorus, North Shore League of Women Voters and Winchester School of Chinese Culture.

Local churches Trinity Evangelical Church and Union Congregational Church; and local companies: NORCAM, Inc., Paul Adams, Commonwealth Wealth Management; Cervizzi’s Martial Arts Academy and North Reading Botanist Walter Kittredge of Oakhaven Sanctuary.

The Historical Society will also be selling its own merchandise, including its newest pewter ornament depicting the circa 1916 Van Latham windmill which the Minitmen are currently restoring. The ornament was designed by local artist Don Doyle.


All pie entries at the Apple Festival are compared for appearance, texture, and taste by a panel of judges in a blind-taste test. Judging will begin at 11 a.m. on Festival day and the winners and runners up will be announced at noon.

Immediately after winners and runners up are announced, they will be presented with ribbons and awards (and bragging rights), and have their photo taken for the Transcript. The pies will then be sliced and available for a nominal fee, served either plain or with a scoop of Richardson’s ice cream.

  • Contest is open to North Reading residents only
  • Youth entrants must be between ages 12-17
  • Adult entrants must be at least 18 years of age
  • Pies must be made from scratch
  • Top and bottom crusts are required – no crumb crusts
  • No nuts, raisins, cranberries, or other fruits are allowed
  • Pies must be at room temperature
  • Lattice pastry work, decorative cutouts, and decorations with food coloring and/or sugars are permitted
  • Attach a 3” x 5” card to the bottom of the entry pie containing the entrant’s name, address, phone number, and age (adults only need to confirm that they are at least 18).
  • Deliver pies to the Reverend Daniel Putnam House (27 Bow Street) between 8 – 10 a.m. on Festival day.

If you are using a non-disposable pie plate, make a notation on the 3” x 5” card that it is to be returned to you. Pie plates must be picked up by 3 p.m. on the day of the festival.