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On the Bright Side

September 17, 2012

Fall festival funds community programs

Red, orange and yellow leaves painting the hillsides. Pumpkins sitting on each stair leading up to a front porch. The smell of apples and cinnamon. These are a few of the traditions people look forward to in fall. Locally, there’s another item that makes the list for many -- the Cooperstown Rotary Club’s Annual Applefest. The event took place at the Fly Creek Cider Mill this past weekend.

“I think Applefest creates family traditions,” Applefest Chairwoman Angie Erway said. “It’s great to be a part of that and it’s also for a cause – the money goes back into the community.”

Beneficiaries of the event include local food banks; Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs; and Rotary’s exchange student program.

“We depend on Applefest to allow us to take four students or five, instead of two or three,” the chair of the exchange student program, Doug Geertgens, explained.

Geertgens says that a big portion of the exchange program’s approximately $10,000 annual budget comes from Applefest. The money allows the program to provide the students with a small monthly stipend so they have some spending money, to host a monthly luncheon for the students who come to stay in the local area and to take care of any expenses that arise from the school activities the students participate in while living in Cooperstown.

Geertgens said there are five exchange students in the area now. “We have a boy from Australia who arrived in January ... and then we have four students who arrived this fall – a boy from Mexico, a boy from Hungary, a girl from Thailand and a girl from India,” he said.

Three of the exchange students were helping run Applefest on Saturday.

Applefest started trying to have an impact on the education of children in another way last year by running a literacy drive. Area Rotarians and SEFCU make the drive possible by donating books.

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