Johnny Appleseed Festival

Mark Your Calendar! (Always the last Saturday in September)

This Year’s Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018 

Johnny Appleseed Festival Dancers

Johnny Appleseed Festival Dancers

Thanks to all of our sponsors, business owners, volunteers, and the community for supporting this great event!

2018 Sponsor Packet is available now: JA-GBR Sponsor Packet – 2018

Sponsor Deadline extended to 8/20/18

This will be our 26th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in Downtown Crystal Lake!

Did you know?  John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was a real-life historical figure whose wilderness adventures became larger-than-life legends.  He was known as a kind and gentle man who planted apple trees throughout the Midwest.  Meet and greet Johnny Appleseed himself, as he strolls the streets of downtown, telling his story throughout the day.

Crystal Lake’s largest one-day event brings families and the community together to celebrate Fall.

The Craft Fair was held in Ormsby Motors’ parking lot during the Johnny Appleseed Festival.  Dozens of vendors displayed beautiful and unique handmade items (everything from quilts to painted rocks to jewelry to fabric tote bags to crocheted items to holiday decorations to….well, you get the picture!). Crafter Application-2018

PLACEMATS!  Fun, colorful, informative…and at your favorite local restaurants!  We’ve put together a placemat for the kiddos and for the adults.  Learn more about the 25th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival. Click on the link:  Placemat 2017 and print as many as you want, or stop by your favorite local restaurant and ask if they are participating.  Thanks to our logo sponsors (shown on the placemat) for supporting this project. Plans are underway for a 2018 placemat!  NEWSFLASH –Click on the sponsor packet link to learn more about all festival sponsor opportunities, including the 2018 placemats:  JA-GBR Sponsor Packet – 2018 

APPLE SCAVENGER HUNT – In 2017, we celebrated the 25th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival with 25 DAYS OF FUN!  Click here to learn more about the Apple Scavenger Hunt.  It’s FREE!  It’s FUN! Win PRIZES!

81 completed and correct cards were turned in for a drawing.  Our grand prize winner, Emilie H. won a Farmer’s Market Basket (see photo to the left).  Ten other individuals won a variety of prizes and gift certificates from downtown merchants.

Winners were: Cash W., Amy & Charley J., Hailey H., Nate, Janice M., Elisa A., Angelina A., Renee K., Jeanette H., and Madison T.

Correct Phrase: “We believe it is easy to count the seeds in an apple.  But does anyone truly know the number of apples in only one seed?”

We will have a new phrase and a new Scavenger Hunt for September, 2018!

NEW in 2017!  Over 200 guests started their apple day at the Community Pancake Breakfast hosted by Bethany Lutheran Church.  Breakfast will be served again this year from 8AM to 10:30AM on Saturday, September 29th at Bethany Lutheran Church, 76 W. Crystal Lake Avenue.

Ticket prices and information:
$5 adults
$3 children (ages 3-10)
Under 3 years old – free
$15 family
Pay at the door.  Each person attending the pancake breakfast will receive one FREE Johnny Appleseed Festival event ticket which can be used for games, activities, rides, and souvenirs at the Festival.

Proceeds from the pancake breakfast will benefit the Bethany Youth Group’s upcoming trip.  The group raised over $1,000 in 2017!


Major Event Sponsor:
Home State Bank

Ten bakers competed against each other. Pies are judged on appearance, taste, and crust.

Congratulations to our 2017 winners:

1st Place – Heather Truffer (center)
2nd Place – Julie Gilligan (left)
3rd Place – Ann Pontarelli (right)

Pie Baking Flyer Click on the link for additional information about registering for the 2018 Apple Pie Baking competition.


Dozens of scarecrows will adorn the lightpoles in Downtown Crystal Lake. Businesses and individuals compete for bragging rights in six categories.  The 2017  winners were:

Scariest – Duke’s Alehouse
Most Colorful – Kitchen Outfitters
Most Creative – Lulu’s Wiggin Out
Most Humorous – Material Girl
Most Representative of Business – Crystal Lake Public Library
Judges’ Choice – Dalzell Jewelery

The creativity of the scarecrows gave Downtown something to “crow about”!

FREE ENTERTAINMENT!!  Downtown will come alive with music and fun — all day!.
The Corner Boys” will be entertaining the crowds in Depot Park.  “Northwest Highway” will be singing and playing music at Brink Street Market throughout the day.

Demonstrations and More FREE Entertainment!!
View and participate in demonstrations of an antique apple cider press and apple peelers, provided by the Crystal Lake Historical Society. There will be musical groups, dance presentations, storytelling in front of the Raue Center (provided by the Crystal Lake Public Library), and so much more! Free balloon art creations in front of Crystal Lake Bank & Trust (70 N. Williams) from 10AM to 12PM. Lots of fun for everyone!

Low Cost Entertainment for the Family!
Activities such as children’s games, pony rides, petting zoo, pumpkin train, pumpkin bowling, temporary tattoos, giant slide, wagon rides, amusement rides, moonwalk, etc. require tickets. Tickets are $1 each. Two ticket/information booths will be setup (one at the corner of Williams & Brink, and one at the parking lot near most of the activities). Click here a detailed list of ticketed activities and the number of tickets required.

The Souvenir Booth (selling apple cider donuts, water, apple juice, apple sippers, Crystal Lake T-shirts & mugs, tote bags, and books) will be located in the Brink Street Market next to the large parking lot. The Souvenir Booth will accept BOTH Cash and Tickets.

Great Ball Race – 3PM

For fast-paced excitement and fun, check out the Great Ball Race on Brink Street. Purchase your chance to win $1,000 at the ticket booth near Dalzell Jewelers. Race time is 3PM. Come on down and cheer your ball on to victory. Click here for additional information about the Great Ball Race.

Thousands of people attend the Johnny Appleseed Festival. We hope you’ll join us in 2018!


The Johnny Appleseed Festival and Great Ball Race are planned, organized and staffed by volunteers.  Thank you to our sponsors for their support, which enables us to host these wonderful family-friendly events for our community.

Want to be a sponsor this year?  This list will keep growing and growing.  Your business name should be here too!   Click on the link for a 2018 sponsor packet:

JA-GBR Sponsor Packet – 2018


Thank you to our Sponsors!

View photos from prior events: