Humble Beginnings to Much-Loved Fall Tradition
What You May Not Know About the Ruthven Apple Festival
To most people, the Ruthven Apple Festival is a great fall event where the wonderful aroma of cotton candy, popcorn and freshly baked pies mixes with the sounds of live music, children’s laughter, leaves crunching underfoot, and the hum of food trucks churning out everything from fish tacos to cheesy poutine. Thousands make their way to Colasanti’s every year in late September to stroll the festival grounds with a warm coffee in hand, pick up a pie, meet up with friends, and enjoy being outdoors. What many people don’t know is how this much-loved autumn tradition began and what a difference the over one million dollars that have been raised over the past 40 years have made in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

In 1980, a small group of community-minded citizens came together to host a roadside event in the hamlet of Ruthven. With a goal of hosting a family-friendly event to celebrate the local apple harvest and raise money for a local charity, the Rebekah and Oddfellows Lodges, local churches, and area apple growers worked together to produce a day filled with a variety of special activities.  An estimated 3,000 people enjoyed a mile-long parade, crafts, a bike lottery, an apple peeling contest featuring local politicians, and a sold-out dinner dance. The festival was a tremendous success and raised more than $6,000 for the Essex County Association for Community Living (now Community Living Essex County) in support of people with an intellectual disability and their families. 

In 1990, after ten years along Highway #3, the festival grew too big for the roadside of the tiny hamlet and moved to the grounds of Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens. By 1994, the festival had become so popular that it was expanded to a two-day event, taking place the last Saturday and Sunday of September. And so began the Ruthven Apple Festival. 

Today, with over 100 food and craft vendors, a continued great partner and host in Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens, a tireless group of volunteers, and thousands of supporters, the event has blossomed into an Essex County fall tradition and a wonderful opportunity to promote inclusion and belonging for people with intellectual disabilities. Every year the funds raised go toward the purchase and maintenance of accessible vehicles to help people with intellectual disabilities enjoy full, active lives in community. While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some challenges this year, we are thrilled to offer the first ever Virtual Ruthven Apple Festival. With live events, entertainment, pie and art auctions, a virtual classic car show and merchandise sales including Apple Fest in a Basket, we hope that this annual event is once again a great success.  
Career Compass Spotlight
Meet Eva
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, it's also created new job opportunities. Eva, who was looking for meaningful employment in her community, was pleased when an opportunity presented itself at the Town of Amherstburg. Eva is now successfully employed with the Town of Amherstburg in Facility Services. She is responsible for disinfecting all high-touch surfaces at Town Hall, including doorknobs, light switches, phones, chairs, table top/counter surfaces, bathrooms, appliances & railings. During the current pandemic, Eva’s job is extremely important to help keep everyone at Town Hall, employees and visitors, safe. Congratulations, Eva!
Upcoming Local and Virtual Events
ERCA Bike Tour - September 18-28, 2020
Yoga with Anna V. - Live Stream Sunday September 20, 2020 10am

Residents Making Their Homes Beautiful for Fall
We're getting ready to deliver fall mums to our supported group living homes as part of our fall decor initiative where residents and staff come together to create beautiful, welcoming porches and entryways to enjoy for the autumn season.

We're always so impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm that goes into these fun projects. We'll post some pictures in the coming weeks and you can see for yourself!
Recipe of the Week
Stuffed Acorn Squash
This hearty fall recipe for Maple Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash is deeply satisfying. Acorn squash is roasted with a bit of maple syrup until it’s soft and caramelized. A savory filling is made with fall apples, parsnips, sage, pecans and your choice of either Italian sausage or Soy Sausage. It’s easily customized – if you are having guests over, some of whom are vegan, you can make some vegan and also make some with meat.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Poll Question
Do you plan to take in the Virtual Apple Festival this year?
For sure! Cannot wait to check it out!
Yes, I have already purchased some items online.
Probably not. I am more of an in-person festival-goer.
Poll Results

What is your feeling about the many students returning to the classroom this week?

As long as everyone follows the guidelines, I think we’ll be okay. 32.7%
Makes me a bit nervous. 35.5%
I'm Very concerned. 32.7%