WESTFIELD, NJ — Like a joyous surprise, the sun came out as Albert Fennes, a member of TheWheelmen.org rode his antique bicycle along Mountain Avenue. Balloons flew merrily about, and the harmonizing voices of Michelle Metallo, Laura Partynski, Dolly Powe and Patti Smith of the vocal group Moonstruck entertained the crowd.
It appeared as though the entire town of Westfield and their friends from far and near came out to celebrate the 5th Annual Apple Fest, held on the grounds of the historic Reeve History & Cultural Resource Center in Westfield by the Westfield Historical Society. Since its founding in 1968, the WHS has collected an array of artifacts, documents and memorabilia that will serve as a record of its heritage for future generations.
At the Reeve House there’s always a focus on the people and places of the colonial town of Westfield, which was settled in 1720. Known as part of the “West Fields” of Elizabethtown, it became the Township of Westfield in 1794. In 1903, it officially became known as the Town of Westfield.
Encouraged to donate a portion of their time to assist others, members of the National Honor Society of Westfield High School were at Apple Fest to lend a hand and Vikranth Eleswarapu and Alexandra Palatucci were there to assist with setting up the Apple Cafe.
“The volunteers have done a marvelous job,” said Nancy Priest, who has served as president of the WHS for 10 years. “This is the first year we’ve opened our Cafe, and it has been a tremendous success. The Westfield Historical Society does its best to keep the heritage of the town of Westfield alive.”
Robert Wendel, who serves as vice president of the membership committee, encourages folks living in town to become members of the Westfield Historical Society.
“As a member of the organization, we all develop a sense of community, love of our neighborhoods, a sense of belonging, a viable reason to become a volunteer ... and a true feeling of being a vital and valued member of a tremendous organization and the community it represents,” said Wendel.
“I always look forward to attending Apple Fest at the Reeve House,” said Mayor Andy Skibitsky. “It is a pleasure to see our community come out and support the many missions of the Westfield Historical Society.”
Kerrie Hanson and her committee were responsible for the Victorian Apple Fest Cafe.
“We were concentrating on the years from 1910 to 1900,” she said.
Joe Di Francesco of Custom Woodworking crafted the mantelpiece in the Reeve House. He also made fine use of the balustrades from the old Reeve House into exterior decor for the Apple Fest Cafe.
At Treasures and Trinkets, Ginny Rorden, Jane Francz, and Gail Stock were busy selling vintage and heritage jewelry, while also helping serve the delicious fare.
A first for winners of the Apple Pie Contest were Westfield High School graduates and working professionals Sarah Patankar, Talisah Harrison and Kerry Foley, who discovered the advertisement for the contest while enjoying coffee at Starbucks.
A tireless volunteer for the Reeve House, Sherry Cronin, Executive Director of Downtown Westfield Corporation, said, “We are thrilled with the wonderful support from the members of our delightful Apple Fest committee and friends. We so appreciate the cooperation from our town. The legacy of the Reeve House fosters our efforts to keep Westfield’s vibrant history alive and well. We are all proud of our town, and the Reeve House.”
To see more photos from Apple Fest by Millicent K. Brody, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestfieldTAP.