Fall Fun In Busti

BUSTI – Travelers from all over flocked to Busti on Sunday to attend the Busti Apple Harvest Festival. First starting in 1975, the festival came into being when there was inventory left over from the two-day Pioneer Festival, which started in 1972.

“Then from 1975-78 we had the two festivals,” said Norman Carlson, the publicity chairman of the Busti Apple Harvest Festival. “…We just did better with the amount of time we put in it (the Apple Harvest Festival), and it’s just too much for us to do a two day festival. So, we dropped the two-day festival, and the Apple Festival has been our main festival since then.”

The Busti Apple Harvest Festival is unique compared to other festivals due to the fact it focuses not on the food of the region, but celebrates the historical background of the area.

“We were the first or one of the very first festivals, craft and history festivals of this type in this area,” said Carlson.

Some new historical attractions included the Busti Mill, a 1839 fully operational historic mill, and a demonstration barn, where 19th-century skills were demonstrated for the public. Demonstrations included flak breaking, spinning, apple butter making, as well as some others.

The Busti Mill has been a restoration project going on for 40 years, which finally finished this year. Throughout the festival, training and grinding demonstrations were held, showing how flour was produced within the last turn of the century.

“They (the Busti Historical Society) took possession of this property back in 1975,” said Cliff Jones of C.A. Jones Construction, the contractor who helped restore the Busti Mill. “So, within a few years after that they started working on the building structure itself. … It was finished and dedicated on June 9 this past year. I believe that was the first time it was open to the public, and we actually ground some corn at the dedication service.”

The mill will be run one afternoon a month all year. The food will be modern and sanitary, and once the license has been obtained, it will be able to be sold.

Due to the mill now being operational, artifacts had to be moved which had been displayed for years on the first and second floors.

“Just all kinds of artifacts,” said John Siggens, the demonstration coordinator for the Apple Harvest Festival. “Antique printing equipment, over there in the corner there is an Ahlstrom piano, which was built in Jamestown. The Ahlstrom piano factory was in Jamestown in the 1800s, and it’s one of the few surviving pianos from that era.”

The Apple Harvest Festival is a year round work-in-progress, and the Busti Historical Society is always looking for helpers and new members. To those who are interested in joining the historical society or helping out with the festival, call 483-3670. The society meets on the first Wednesday of every month, and citizens do not need to be from Busti to be a member.