CENTRAL SQUARE – The Brewerton Speedway is usually associated with big block modifieds, mod lites and other vehicles, but the track will host a completely different level of competition — woolly worm racing — at the 33rd annual Lioness Club of Central Square Apple Festival Sept. 24 and 25.
In addition to enjoying hundreds of crafters, vendors, entertainers, food booths, demonstrations and amusement rides, visitors to the festival will have a chance to race their own woolly worms and cheer on their favorites in races sponsored by the Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team.
The festival opens Friday evening with amusement rides and games by Playland Amusements from 5 to 9 p.m. The full slate of food, entertainment and activities will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
Festival admission is $5 per vehicle. All vehicles and pedestrians should enter at the CNY Raceway Park entrance at 154 US Route 11, just north of the Brewerton bridge. Golf cart and shuttle transportation will be provided to and from the festival grounds.
The Brewerton Speedway entrance will be closed.
Apples, apple products, and desserts will be supplied by Appledale Orchards of Mexico, Cicero United Methodist Church, West Monroe Methodist Church, Central Square Lions Club, Teen Challenge, and Brewerton United Methodist Church.
Additional food choices include barbecued chicken dinners, breakfast sandwiches, fried seafood, pizza, egg rolls, poutine, taco in a bag, blooming onion, maple products, and a large menu of traditional festival food.
The festival is an important fundraiser for many local non-profit groups who earn money to support their own organizational missions.
The Lionesses donate all of the proceeds from the event back to the community.
“The Lionesses have many local charitable activities that benefit a wide array of people and organizations, including the sight and hearing-impaired, local food pantries, libraries, families in need and the emergency community serving the north shore of Oneida Lake and southern Oswego and northern Onondaga counties.” said Apple Festival Executive Director Ellen Ellison Sykes.
Again this year the Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team will hold its annual Woolly Worm Races at the Apple Festival.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, contestants will encourage woolly bear caterpillars to crawl up a 3-foot length of string.
“The Woolly Worm Races are a unique event to raise money for the all-volunteer Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team,” said Scott Morehouse, SAR director. “Anyone can participate. No person is more likely to have a winning worm than any other person, although worms raced by children do seem to win a bit more frequently.”
First place winners both days will receive $500 awards and second place daily winners receive $100 each.
Each race winner and semi-final race winner will receive small cash awards.
Saturday’s daily winner earns the title of “2016 CNY Woolly Worm Champion” and that worm is used to predict the severity of the upcoming 2016-17 winter.
Trophies are awarded to first and second place winners each day.
There is a $5 entry fee for the Woolly Worm Races.
Contestants are encouraged to bring their own woolly worms, although the team will have a supply on hand for racing.
Local musician Emmalee Herrington opens the festival with the National Anthem and a concert from 9 to 9:30 Saturday morning and 9 to 10 Sunday morning.
The fourth annual Miss Apple Festival competition will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Apple pie judging is from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Scarecrow contest winners will be announced at 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
Other special events and performances include Jammin’ Beats DJs, Magical John, Curls the Clown, Team Sgarlata Martial Arts, author Wendy LaDue, Tom Gilbo and the Blue Suedes, Central Square Gymnastics, wool spinning with Pam Locke, Central Square Redhawk Regiment Marching Band, Dance Craze by Shannon, The McCarthy Family, Lisa Lee Band, Ronald McDonald and Kids Kingdom Princesses, humvee display and obstacle course by 403rd Family Readiness Group, Love My Parrots, NYS Police Rollover Demonstration, Operation Safe Child ID by Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, agricultural display by Oswego County Fair, Oswego County Fire Prevention Display, SPL Kids’ Kingdom, and Copenhagen Carvers.
A complete schedule of events, ride coupons, and contest information are posted at www.facebook.com/CentralSquareAppleFestival and at http://centralsquareapplefestival.com/
For information on the woolly worm races, visit https://www.facebook.com/CNYWoolyRacing/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE.