Johnny Appleseed Festival

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

This Year’s Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021 

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!

This was our 28th Annual Johnny Appleseed Festival in Downtown Crystal Lake!  The weather was beautiful, and we had a super event!

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.  Thanks to our major event sponsor:

Home State Bank




APPLE SCAVENGER HUNT (9/1/21 – 9/20/21)
Let’s start the month out right with some pre-festival fun!  This scavenger hunt is FREE and just-for-fun.  Grab a game card from Mellie’s Chocolates (2 N. Williams) or Marvin’s Toy Store (64 N. Williams).  Or you can print out your own game card here: Scavenger Hunt Cards – JA 2021
Hunt for the numbered red apples in the downtown district.  Each apple will reveal a word for the puzzle.  Write down the words you find in the matching apple box on the card to discover the completed sentence.  Drop off your completed card to Marvin’s Toy Store or Mellie’s Chocolates.  Winners will be drawn from correctly completed game cards and notified the following day.  Gift baskets will include Crystal Lake souvenirs, store prizes, festival tickets and more!

A Craft Fair was held in Depot Park’s 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!).

Dozens of scarecrows will adorn the lampposts in Downtown Crystal Lake. Businesses and individuals compete for bragging rights in seven categories.  For additional information: Scarecrow Flier 2021

The 2021 winners are:
Scariest: Cafe Olympic
Most Colorful: Ms. Bossy Boots
Most Creative: Crystal Lake Public Library
Most Humorous: The Green Read
Most Unusual: Mum 117
Most Representative of Business/Organization: Crystal Lake Park District
Judges’ Choice: The Fountains

And, speaking of scarecrows….watch for our giant stilt-walking juggling scarecrow who will be roaming around all afternoon.  The scarecrow will put on a special performance immediately following the Great Ball Race on Brink Street.  You won’t want to miss the fun!

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!!
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 12AM to 2PM. 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, wagon rides, etc., require tickets. Tickets are $1 each. New this year, the Corner Corral will be a dedicated area for inflatable fun, including a giant slide, obstacle courses, toddler slide, and more! Wristbands for the Corner Corral will sell for $10, and you can bounce, slide and run all day! Two ticket/information booths will be set up (one at the corner of Williams & Brink and one at the parking lot near most of the activities).

SOUVENIR BOOTH (selling apple cider donuts, water, apple juice, apple sippers, apple squishies, cookbooks, Crystal Lake T-shirts & mugs, tote bags, and more) will be located in the Brink Street Market next to the large parking lot. The Souvenir Booth will accept BOTH Cash and Tickets.  A limited selection of souvenirs will also be available at the ticket/information tent by the Raue Memorial Clock (corner of Williams and Brink).

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. A maximum of 1,000 tickets will be sold for $10 each. 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 2021!

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.

Johnny Appleseed/Great Ball Race Sponsor Packet

Home State Bank – Major Event Sponsor
Baxter & Woodman, Inc.
Cafe Olympic
The Clothes Gallery
Compass-Gassensmith Group
Country Inn & Suites – Johnny Appleseed sleeps here!
Countryside Flower Shop & Nursery
Crystal Lake Bank & Trust
Dalzell Jewelers
Dobbe Marketing & PR
Express Employment Professionals
The Facial Bar
The Flag Store
Georgio’s Pizzeria & Pub
KaleidoScoops Ice Cream
KinderCare Learning Center
Kitchen Outfitters
Lulu’s Wiggin Out
Marian Central Catholic High School
Marvin’s Toy Store
Montessori Pathways School
Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists
Northwest Herald – Print Media Sponsor
Pure Family Healthcare
Raue Center for the Arts
The Running Depot
Salon Cora
Wear Did U Get That
Zanck, Coen, Wright & Saladin, P.C.

Thank you to our Sponsors!


View photos from prior events: