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2020 Events Postponed. Join us September 15-18, 2021. Click here to view the announcement.

History of the Murphysboro Apple Festival

The Murphysboro Apple Festival is the oldest and largest alcohol-free festival in southern Illinois! Held the second weekend after Labor Day, each year more than 45,000 people flock to Downtown Murphysboro and the surrounding areas. Started in 1952 by the Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce as a one day event to promote Murphysboro businesses, the Apple Festival has grown into a four-day festival. The 2020 Murphysboro Apple Festival will be held over two days, due to health restrictions.

Not-for-profit

Murphysboro Apple Festival, Inc. became it's own 501(c)3 non-for-profit organization, run by more than 150 volunteers and event chairs. The festival's signature event, the Appletime Grand Parade, is considered by many to be the largest parade in southern Illinois with an average of 160 total units participating.

2020 Murphysboro Apple Festival

All events and contests for the 2020 Murphysboro Apple Festival have been postponed. Click HERE to read our announcement.
Our 2020 Murphysboro Apple Festival will look different due to COVID-19 restrictions, but we are happy to celebrate our 69th year with many events, free entertainment, pageants, concessions, contests, and so much more!

Appletime Archives

Click each link below to see each year's Event & Contest Results
2019 Event & Contest Results
2018 Event & Contest Results
2017 Event & Contest Results
2016 Event & Contest Results

Apple Festival Souvenir Booklets

67th Annual (2018) Apple Festival Booklet
68th Annual (2019) Apple Festival Booklet

Illinois State Archives
Murphysboro Apple Festival Collections

Thanks to the efforts of Sallie Logan Public Library, the Murphysboro Apple Festival's Official Depository, and the Illinois State Library Illinois History Digital Imaging Grant Program, the entire collection of Appletime Books, print materials, pictures, and memorabilia housed at the library is now available online!

Illinois Digital Archives - Murphysboro Apple Festival

Captain Applesauce

Captain Applesauce was created in 1980 by Apple Festival Committee member Peggy Strong.

Murphysboro’s own superhero first took shape in a few simple sketches that later evolved into a children’s coloring book. A pudgy caped ‘apple man,’ Captain Applesauce possesses all the powers essential for the mascot of the Murphysboro Apple Festival: he can fly over an apple tree, play golf, befriend zoo animals, lead a marching band, and most of all, charm any crowd of kids.

A St. Louis costume designer was the first to capture Captain Applesauce’s sense of style.

He now serves as mascot and host for all Murphysboro Apple Festival events, welcoming kids of all ages to join in the fun.

Among the Captain’s favorite events are Storytime with Captain Applesauce, where kids get to enjoy reading with our hometown hero, and of course, the Murphysboro Apple Festival Grand Parade.

Past Apple Festival Themes

2020

"mUrphysboRo STR🍎NG"

2019

"Slice of Tradition"

2018

"These Roots Run Deep"

2017

"Do You Remember When…"

2016

"A Harvest of History"

2015

"The Magic of Appletime"

2014

"A Grand Past, A Bright Future"

2013

62nd Annual
"Planting Seeds for Tomorrow"

2012

61st Annual
"Orchard of Dreams"

2011

"60 Years of Appletime Fun"

2010

"Once Upon an Appletime"

2009

"A Bushel of Memories"

2008

"Ripe With Possibilites"

2007

"Spirit of America"

2006

"Famous Firsts"

2005

"Extra, Extra! Read All About It!"

2004

"The Wonderful World of Sports"

2003

"Let's Go to the Movies"

2002

"America the Beautiful"

2001

"50 Years of Appletime Tradition"

2000

"Heroes of the Past"

1999

"A Moment in Time"

1998

"Tell Me a Story"

1997

"If I Could Wish Upon a Star…"

1996

"All the World's a Stage"

1995

"Earth…What a World"

1994

"All Things Great and Small"

1993

"Traveling Through Time"

1992

"Storybook Characters on Parade"

1991

"Moments We've Shared"

1990

"Childhood Dreams"

1989

"A Time to Remember"

1988

"Now a Word From Our Sponsors"

1987

"The Constitution - Our American Heritage"

1986

"Television - America's Pastimes"

1985

"Salute to Southern Illinois"

1984

"Life's Precious Memories"

1983

"The Wonderful World of Motion Pictures"

1982

"Music, Music, Music"

1981

"Happiness Is"

1980

"Our Super Heroes"

1979

"Best of Broadway"

1978

"A Child's World"

1977

"Beyond the Horizon-A Glimpse Into the Future"

1976

"Our Proud Heritage"

1975

"The World and Its People"

1974

"Those Were the Days"

1973

"Great Stories of the Bible"

1972

"Carnival"

1971

"Twenty Fruitful Years"

1970

"Wonderful World of Disney"

1969

"Great Moments in History"

1968

"150 Years of Illinois"

1967

"Highways of America"

1966

"The Legend and Lore of Southern Illinois"

1965

"The Wonderful World of Television"

1964

"The Roaring Twenties"

1963

"Great Moments"

1962

"The Golden West"

1961

"Historical Events"

1960

"Nursery Rhymes"

1959

"Fantasy in Music" (Song Titles)

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