Johnny Appleseed Festival

Mark Your Calendar! (Always the last Saturday in September)
Next Year’s Date is Saturday, September 26, 2020 (9AM – 4PM)

2019 RECAP
Despite a soggy start to the day, crowds of people came downtown on Saturday, September 28th for a day full of family fun!

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

How about a video showing all the fun ??


Downtown 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




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!).

This year, the Craft Fair was located in the Depot Parking Lot surrounded by all the wonderful activities of the Festival. The Craft Fair was next to the music at the Gazebo and all of our delicious food court vendors. Stop by to see all the wonderful artisans and crafters, you won’t be disappointed!

Email us at with any questions for next year’s craft fair.

PLACEMATS/ACTIVITY SHEETS!  Fun, colorful, informative…Johnny Appleseed placemats/activity sheets were delivered to your favorite local restaurants and businesses!  The placemats featured information about the festival and Johnny Appleseed too!   Thanks to our logo sponsors (shown on the placemat) for supporting this project. 

APPLE SCAVENGER HUNT – (month of September)
This scavenger hunt is just-for-fun!  Participants received a game card and then went on a h
unt for the numbered red apples around downtown.  Each apple had a word in an apple-related sentence.  The participants wrote down the words to discover the completed sentence.  This year’s phrase was: “When the moon hits your eye like a big apple pie, that’s amore!”  Each year we use a different phrase.  Here are photos of our lucky winners:

Back by Popular Demand!
 Start your apple day at the Community Pancake Breakfast hosted by Bethany Lutheran Church.  Breakfast will be served from 8AM to 10:30AM  at Bethany Lutheran Church, 76 W. Crystal Lake Avenue.

Ticket prices and information:
$5 per person
Under 3 years old – free
$15 max per 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 will benefit Bethany Lutheran Church Youth Confirmation activities and scholarships for camps.

We had ten bakers compete against each other. Pies were judged on appearance, taste, and crust.

Congratulations to our 2019 winners:








Dozens of scarecrows adorned the lampposts in Downtown Crystal Lake. Businesses and individuals compete for bragging rights in seven categories. We’ve added a new category this year: “Most Unusual”.

The 2019  winners were:
Scariest – Crystal Lake Antique Mall
Most Colorful – Lulu’s Wiggin Out
Most Creative – Yours & Meyn
Most Humorous – Sage YMCA
Most Unusual – Mum 117
Most Representative of Business – The Green Read
Judges’ Choice – Home State Bank

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

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!!
View and participate in demonstrations of an antique apple cider press and apple peeler, 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 on the link for a list of ticketed activities and the number of tickets needed for each: Activity Schedule

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.

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 2020!

There are lots of parking options throughout Downtown Crystal Lake.  The commuter lots are FREE and open to the public all day Saturday.

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.

Thanks to our 2019 Sponsors:


Thank you to our Sponsors!

View photos from prior events: