Lincolnton is a champion at taking other towns' ideas and making use of them. The Lincoln County Apple Festival got its start because Howard Waynick, a County Agent with the NC State Extension Service who worked with apple growers, wanted something like the North Carolina Apple Festival at Hendersonville for Lincoln County.
At the time, Lincoln County was the #2 apple producing county in the state (we no longer are). Another County Agent, Melinda Smith (now Houser) had seen the Strawberry Festival in another North Carolina county and brought some of the ideas to a planning meeting that began the Apple Festival in 1972.
Lincolnton's Christmas tree has been a tradition for many years, but for economic and safety reasons, the city switched to an artificial tree a couple of years ago--borrowing from Hickory where the same company that produced that city's tree now produces the one for Lincolnton--and the apple that was dropped to proclaim the New Year at this year's first-ever New Year's Festival.
Once again, Lincolnton borrowed from another city. The idea forLincolnton’s newest tradition started with Lincoln County Apple Festival coordinator Carole Howell, who shared a video of last year’s New Year’s Eve pickle drop in Mount Olive on Facebook and suggested that Lincolnton might do the same with an apple.
Laura Morris, the city's Community Relations & Events Director got with Mosca Design, the company that manufactured the 40-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree, and with assistance from Carpenter Decorating Company in Maiden, the idea became a proposal.
Some complained that the event also limited the activities of the Traditional New Year's Shooters who had made appearances at many Lincolnton locations in previous years. Contrary to Facebook talk, there was never any proposal to stop the shooting except at the event on the south Courtsquare. It is true that City Police had cautioned the shooters to avoid blocking access to homes and businesses in case of an emergency, and there's still a legal question whether the 'shooting' of the muskets violates the city's ordinance against firing weapons inside the city limits since the muskets aren't loaded with a projectile like a bullet.
Others complained that the event should have included beer sales--but the idea from the start was to make it a 'family friendly' event with no alcohol. Those who wanted a more 'adult' celebration had to venture only a short distance down East Water Street to Untapped Territory or make their way to Crafted on E. Main St. or to Fairways & Greens at Lincoln Country Club--all of whom had celebrations.
The weather was far from ideal--but while it was wet, Lincolnton did escape the heavy downpour that fell during New York City's celebration (the place from which the idea of dropping a ball--in Lincolnton's case an 'apple,'--originally came).
All things considered, the event went very, very well--and many who attended and others who did not say they 'can't wait until next year.'
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