Photo from Elks Creek Preservation Society.

Only in Maryland: Old Fashion Apple Butter Festival

By Meagan Baco

Since 1977, the Elk Creek Preservation Society celebrates the region’s colonial heritage by inviting Marylanders to their annual Apple Butter Festival held at the Bee Hive — a group of historic buildings nearby Fair Hill in Cecil County.

Making apple butter at Little Elk Farm, 1988. Photo from Elk Creek Preservation Society.

Making apple butter at Little Elk Farm, 1988. Photo from Elk Creek Preservation Society.


Well before dawn, the community begins the apple butter making process by starting up the fires that will slow cook the apples all day to bring out their natural sweetness. Throughout the day, attendees can see, smell, and experience the process — including taking a turn to stir the big copper kettle. The festival also includes traditional Scottish food from the ca. 1797 Wallace Tavern along with Scottish and Irish dancing. Blacksmiths, candlemakers, calligraphers and other artisans will demonstrate their crafts throughout the day, too.


Elk Creeks Preservation Society was founded in 1977 as an outgrowth of Cecil County’s Bicentennial Committee. Our name is derived from the two branches of the Elk River, the Big Elk Creek, and the Little Elk Creek. We are a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to restore and maintain historic structures and properties within the Elk Creeks watershed, while sharing the knowledge of local history.

Attend the Festival

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Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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