The arrival of October means Groveport and Canal Winchester are preparing for annual events geared around fall and Halloween.

First is Groveport's celebration -- dating back 45 years -- of its small-town heritage.

Apple Butter Day will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 in Heritage Park, where volunteers will stir steaming copper kettles of homemade apple butter.

The event, which benefits the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society, attracts thousands of visitors every year.

"Some people were just sitting around one day and decided, 'Let's make some apple butter,' and so they did that," Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society President Craig Lovelace said. "The very first Apple Butter Day was held in the parking lot of the Groveport Presbyterian Church.

"It became very popular very quickly."

Since 1974, the festival has grown with entertainment, food vendors and artisans selling homemade goods and crafts, he said.

Volunteers begin making batches of apple butter the weekend before Apple Butter Day. Lovelace said these are sold during the early hours of the festival. The batches of apple butter made at the festival are sold during the afternoon, he said.

Those who oversee the work say it takes about eight hours to stir together and cook apples, sugar, cinnamon and Red Hots candy. Volunteers used to peel the apples, but the demand now requires an outside vendor. A wood fire beneath each barrel provides the heat.

Groveport, with a population of nearly 6,000, is no longer the small, rural village the festival celebrates, but that doesn't seem to matter. Many former residents return home for the weekend to reconnect, Lovelace said.

"It's a hometown festival in which you come back and say, 'Hey, neighbor.' "

Ghost Tour

The Canal Winchester Area Historical Society will bring history to life during its 13th annual Historic Ghost Tour Oct. 19 and 20, with proceeds benefiting the society's preservation projects.

Participants will be guided through a short walking tour and entertained by actors depicting people from Canal Winchester's past. The tours will last about 90 minutes and will begin at 6:30 p.m. each night, with the last tour departing at 7:30 p.m.

All tours will depart from the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St. Tickets will be available at the community center each evening beginning at 6 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students ages 6-18; there is no charge for children 5 and younger.

Running Scared 5K

The Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraging runners and walkers to dress in costume for the Running Scared 5K beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 27 at Roger Hanners Park, 458 Groveport Road.

Three events are planned: a Kids Fun Run at 9:45 a.m., an untimed 1-mile Family Fun Run/Walk starting at 10 a.m. and the timed 5K Run/Walk, also starting at 10 a.m. There is a $30 fee for the 5K and the family run/walk.

Prizes will be awarded to adults and children for the best costume.

The event is sponsored by Diley Ridge Medical Center.

Registration information is available at runsignup.com/runningscared.

Trick-or-treat

Canal Winchester's Beggars Night activities are scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31, rain or shine. Immediately afterward, a free Halloween party will be held at the Frances Steube Community Center, sponsored by VFW Post 10523.

Groveport's trick-or-treat is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

Hot dogs, drinks and popcorn will be passed out starting at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 648 Main St.

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