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Hillsboro To Hold Last Apple Festival This Year


Associated Press
      HILLSBORO — This year's Hillsboro Apple Festival is called "the Last Bite of the Apple" because organizers say the 39th festival this Labor Day will be the last.
    Thousands of people have come to past festivals, which attracted up to 100 vendors.
    But heavy rains last summer hampered attendance, and backers decided to end the tradition, said a festival organizer, Maree Westland, owner of Enchanted Bed and Breakfast.
    The festival grew out of a holiday weekend sidewalk sale started in the early 1960s by Sue Bason, owner of a Hillsboro gallery and antique shop. In 1968, the end-of-summer event turned into the Hillsboro Apple Festival, Bason said.
    "It pretty much put Hillsboro on the map. ... It was going gangbuster for a lot of years, but now Labor Day is just spread too thin," she said. "We've lost a lot of vendors to your Harvest Wine Festival in Las Cruces and the Hatch Chile Festival and we've lost a lot of the interest with too many things going on all over the place."
    Bason also said there are fewer apples today.
    "When we started, we had two orchards in town and now we don't," Bason said.
    She said she's sorry to see the festival end, but added, "It's had a good run and it's time to put it to bed and try something different."
    Community members are discussing a celebration with a different theme that's not held over Labor Day, she said.
    "We're talking about getting together and doing something pioneery, maybe to do with miners and ranchers, and maybe having it in October," Bason said.
    This year's Apple Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 3.


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