This is the season for small town festivals all around northeast Missouri and western Illinois. All the communities that stage such get togethers do a fine job. That being said ... this weekend, all roads will lead to Barry, Illinois for the 46th annual Apple Festival.

I never cease to be amazed about the fact that this Pike County community of 1,400 draws 25-30,000 people from throughout the region year after year.

One of the main drawing cards is the Grand Parade which steps off at 1 p.m. Saturday. The typical Apple Festival Parade features marching bands from at least two, and some years three, different states, along with the usual array of visiting royalty, floats, and various and sundry entries for your approval.

Then, on Sunday, there are wall-to-wall people on the streets of Barry for the car show. Over 300 units perennially come to take part, showing off their vehicles of all shapes and sizes, with trophies and prize money on the line. Registration for entries begins at 7:30 a.m., with the show itself starting at noon.

Richard "Punkun" and Melinda Johnson have been in charge of the car show since day one, using their own love of the car show circuit as a springboard toward making Barry a regional destination for car lovers of all ages.

Other highlights of the weekend include the apple pie baking contest and Barry's Got Talent competition on Thursday, the crowning of all the royalty Friday, the pet show, the baby contest and Isaiah Christian and Broseph E. Lee on stage Saturday, and the community church service, Ashley Waters Dance Company, the chicken dinner and the Jesus Fest on Sunday.

All of this, along with a full carnival, crafts, a flea market, the Apple Dumplin Inn, the Fritter Shack and vendors galore.

If you don't know, Barry, Illinois is just off Interstate 72 at Exit 20 in Pike County.

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