Now in its fourth year, the festival filled downtown McCloud with 77 vendor booths, demonstration booths, food booths, a free pumpkin photo booth, a live music stage, a free game area for children and lots and lots of people wondering through the festival enjoying themselves.

The colder McCloud nights made for a perfect Apple Harvest in McCloud on Saturday.

Now in its fourth year, the festival filled downtown McCloud with 77 vendor booths, demonstration booths, food booths, a free pumpkin photo booth, a live music stage, a free game area for children and lots and lots of people wondering through the festival enjoying themselves.

The line never ended at the Enchanted Design Face Painting booth. There was free apple cider straight from the apple press, and free horse drawn wagon rides, as well as baskets of sweet apples sitting out all over the place for people to enjoy.

The McCloud Chamber baked 102 apple pies to sell by the slice or by the pie.

“I’m amazed at how fast they are selling,” said McCloud Chamber Director Airiel Scotti.

By the end of the day there wasn’t a pie left.

Separate from the pie sale, there was the apple pie contest. Bakers in McCloud take this pretty seriously. Most of the judges were returners from last year’s contest: Michael Quinn, Erna Jones, Diane Kerttula, Paula Kleinhans, Erna Jones, Susan Cena and District 1 County Supervisor Brandon Criss.

The pies were judged on appearance, taste, texture and crust.

“It was rough to enjoy all the pies and find a favorite,” said Criss. “We have a lot of good bakers in McCloud. All the pies equaled my wife’s cooking in some way and she is a culinary chief. In other words, they were all very good pies but Becky’s was the best overall. It was fun.”

First time competitor in the pie contest, Becky Langum, took first place. She said she was afraid of entering the contest in past years because there are so many good bakers in town.

“I was surprised that I won. I used a variety of McCloud apples and made the crust with real butter the day before so it could get nice and firm in the fridge.”

The scarecrow contest was won by Anne Rutherford. She utilized a mannequin she’s had for 25 years that she dresses up for different occasions.

“I painted her blue because she no longer had a skin tone,” said Rutherford. “The jewels all over her are covering up the chips and cracks she received through the years. She has been a cowgirl, a high school graduate, a valentine queen, even dressed as a frog and now a scarecrow. She has been many things through the years.”

Marissa Moutard, age 12 from Redding, waited with her sister 8 year-old sister Mercedes for a wagon ride.

“I love horses. I’d rather be riding on the back of a horse than in the wagon. But this is the first thing we are doing, I haven’t discovered everything here yet,” Moutard said.

Halfway through the morning a worn-out 4 year-old Hank Bennett from Redding sat in his stroller to take a break from the games that were put on by McCloud Elementary and McCloud High School. Most of the games were carnival-like: ring toss, ping pong ball toss into fish bowls, beanbag toss, etc.

“I like the horse ride and the pumpkin patch and playing the games the best,” said Bennett. “I won some candy. I am just taking a break for now.”

According to Scotti, there was a 40 percent increase of attendees and vendors this year. The festival started four years ago with Carol Zacher, who owned the McCloud Meat Market and Tavern. Because of the weather in past years, they held the festival in the cane shed on the Millworks’ property.

“People are hearing about the Apple Harvest Festival and are asking to have a booth here,” said McCloud Chamber President Lorinda Meyer. “This year we have a wide variety of different craft products all displayed nicely ... We are growing bigger and bigger. I can’t begin to list all our volunteers that have helped out. We are so grateful for all their support.”