Festival Lights on September Nights | The 2023 Murphysboro Apple Festival

Lindsay + Tim Stockhecke


With attendance exceeding 45,000 the Murphysboro Apple Festival is anything but small, but somehow organizers have preserved the small-town feeling in spite of the impressive visitor count. When we stopped at their headquarters organizers attributed some of this to the choice to not sell wristbands, describing not wanting guests to spend their time standing in lines. With seventy-one years to fine-tune this event, the fair originating as a one-day festival in 1952 has since grown into a four-day family fun experience jam-packed with activities.

We have broken down some of the must-know details for the novice Apple Fest visitor.

  1. When + Where | Always held the second weekend after Labor Day the 2023 Apple Festival will run Sept 13-Sept 16. While the Festival Funland and parade are hosted on Mainstreet there are lots of events held elsewhere throughout the community during this time. Some of their popular events include the Grand Parade, Taste of Murphysboro (sold out), The Miss Apple Festival Pagent, Drums at Appletime, The Apple Pie and Apple Butter Contest, and the Festival Funland. Be sure to check out their website here for a comprehensive event calendar.
  2. What to expect
    • The Murphysboro Apple Festival draws a huge crowd so those planning to attend the parade should expect to set their chairs out in advance (some community members begin putting chairs out several weeks ahead of time).
    • With activities spanning four days it’s a good idea to read about all the happenings and plan for one or more days/times to maximize your Apple Festival experience.
  3. Cost + Fees | Event fees vary with many being free of charge however, advanced ride tickets for the Festival Funland are currently available for purchase in the Apple Festival Office (10 for $30, cash only). They do not sell wristbands for this festival and while you can purchase tickets the day-of advanced tickets are considerably less costly (ie 1 ticket for 1 ride).
  4. Food + Beverage | Local businesses will be open during the festival, some with expanded event hours. Additionally, this year has 14 food vendors along with the Appletime Bakery and General Store.
  5. FAQ | All your festival answers can be found below!
    • The Apple Festival Headquarters is open at 110 S. 14th Street, Murphysboro, Il Mon-Fri 10am-2pm where you can purchase fesival ‘swag’, ride tickets, ask questions, etc.
    • Their website here provides a comprehensive overview including festival history, calendar of events, etc.
    • Keep up with the latest event changes on their social media here .
    • Once the festival begins you can stop by the Appletime Emporium with questions and/or to shop festival items located in Festival Funland at S. 13th St and Walnut St

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