Event date: 9/23/2023 9:00 AM - 9/24/2023 5:00 PM Export event
55th Annual Apple 'n Pork Festival
DeWitt County Museum Association
The 55th Annual Apple ‘n Pork Festival will take place September 23th & 24th. The modest fundraising event, which originated on the C.H. Moore Homestead DeWitt County Museum grounds years ago around a kettle of soup simmered over an open wood fire and stack of sandwiches, has evolved into a two-day, signature event celebrating harvest, heritage, history, and hospitality.
The Apple ‘n Pork Festival was established by the DeWitt County Museum Association to provide the funds necessary to restore and furnish the palatial home of one of DeWitt County’s most prominent citizens, Clifton H. Moore. One of Clinton’s earliest residents, Moore was a law partner and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, a land speculation partner of David Davis, and one of Clinton’s leading benefactors.
Once one of the finest residences in the city, the Moore house had fallen to disrepair by the 1960s. In 1967, as the once grand structure on the north edge of town approached a century of existence, it was slated for demolition. One of Moore’s heirs offered use of the property to the then newly-formed DeWitt County Museum Association on the condition that the association refurbish and maintain the historic Victorian mansion and open the doors to the public.
That first small and humble Apple ‘n Pork Festival was deemed a success. The funds raised were utilized to carry out the monumental task of refurbishing the once grand, old house room-by-room, during the next twenty years. Now fully restored and operating as a museum, events venue, and historic landmark, Moore’s former residence and accompanying acreage and outbuildings are visited by thousands each year. Minerva Moore Bishop, the original lady of the house, would be pleased to have so many visit her home which, from the 1870s until Minerva’s death in 1880 (at which time, her brother, Clifton H. Moore purchased the property from his widower brother-in-law) was deemed one of the most welcoming in the city. According to tradition, Minerva enjoyed nothing more than inviting people into her home. That hospitable tradition continues as the museum is open for tours six days a week, nine months of the year.
During the Apple ‘n Pork Festival approximately 1,000 tour the landmark mansion, and an average of 80,000 attend the festival. Artisans demonstrating old-fashioned crafts, an antique tractor show, free farm museum tours, blacksmithing and meal grinding demonstrations, pony rides, artists displaying their work, free musical entertainment, a huge flea market, tours of the Moore mansion, and over 25 food booths featuring a wide variety of delicious, old-fashioned, apple and pork foods can all be enjoyed on the museum grounds. Among the “apple ‘n pork” offerings are smoked ham sandwiches, apple fritters, pork rinds, apple cider floats, apple butter, grilled bratwurst, pork chops, hot caramel apple sundaes, apple pie, and ham and beans prepared over an open fire. Home baked gingerbread cookies, funnel cakes, kettle corn, river rat potatoes, homemade candies, biscuits with gravy, and other old-time favorites will also be served.
Across the museum’s little red covered bridge, more than 250 flea market booths offering antiques, crafts, and a variety of other unique items and merchandise can be found. Today, the objective of the Apple ‘n Pork Festival remains the same–event proceeds help fund routine museum maintenance & operation, educational programs, activities, and special events. Many other local non-profit organizations also benefit greatly from food booth sales made on the museum grounds.
More information can be found here.
C.H. Moore Homestead/DeWitt County Museum
219 East Woodlawn Street
Clinton, IL 61727 (Map)