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Johnny Appleseed Festival returns to Storrs Library

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW Every American child of school age probably knows the tale of Johnny Appleseed. He was the adventurous young man who wandered west, planting apple trees along the way. What some students (and adults) do not know is that Johnny was once a Longmeadow resident.

Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman on Sept. 26, 1774, introduced apples to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, the area that was the American frontier in the early 19th century. His family moved from Leominster to Longmeadow before Johnny began his trek westward at age 18. The Johnny Appleseed House is located at 14 Fairfield Terrace.

The Philip Michael Lauro II Discovery Room at the Storrs Library on Longmeadow Street is planning their second Johnny Appleseed Festival for Sept. 27, and event organizer Jean Maziarz, assistant youth services librarian, said she is planning for a day of family fun.

"Because Johnny Appleseed is from Longmeadow, it's nice to have that tie in the community," Maziarz said. "Not everybody realizes [he lived here]."

Maziarz said the inaugural Johnny Appleseed Festival was very well attended and hopes more families will turn out for the event this year.

The festival, which runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 27, will feature book readings, games and crafts, all with an apple theme.

There will be some stories about Johnny Appleseed himself as well as the story in "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World" by Marjorie Priceman, which takes readers around the globe to gather ingredients for their dessert.

Back this year by popular demand is the bobbing for apples game, as well as a game of "Hot Apple," which is similar to "Hot Potato."

Maziarz said there will also be two crafts for kids to participate in. Making apple print cards is one and the other will be a surprise.

"The nice thing about [this] program is that it truly can be multi-age," Maziarz said. "It's good for kids who may still need their parents' help with crafts up to a fourth or even a fifth grader. It's fun for the whole family."

The Johnny Appleseed Festival is free of charge, but Maziarz asks that interested families register in advance by calling the Discovery Room at 565-4182.

"I want everybody to have fun and realize the library is a fun place to visit," Maziarz added.