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Johnny Appleseed to appear at Roscoe Village

| October 17, 2014
Johnny Appleseed: Pictured in his Johnny Appleseed costume is the late Jack Baumgardner who passed away in 2011. Martin Baumgardner, one of Jack’s sons, will wear the costume at this year’s Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival at Roscoe Village. Beacon file photo

Johnny Appleseed: Pictured in his Johnny Appleseed costume is the late Jack Baumgardner who passed away in 2011. Martin Baumgardner, one of Jack’s sons, will wear the costume at this year’s Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival at Roscoe Village. Beacon file photo

COSHOCTON – The late Jack Baumgardner spent nearly three decades of his life portraying Johnny Appleseed and 22 years as a living history interpreter at Roscoe Village. This weekend, his son Martin will break out his father’s Appleseed costume and bring the historical character back to Roscoe Village for its Apple Butter Stirrin′ Festival.

“I’ll wander around some and say a few things about Johnny Appleseed, but I’ll mostly be at the main stage where I’ll have some apples to pass out,” he said.

Martin will be at the festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19.

Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman and he was originally from New England. Most of his life though was spent traveling the rural country of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana where he planted apple trees and shared their bounty with pioneer families.

Martin believes Jack might have first got interested in Johnny Appleseed when a co-worker by the name of Wilma Meek gave him a book on the man.

“I don’t know if that gave Dad the idea or not because he already read a lot,” Martin said.

Shortly after receiving the book in the early 1980s, Jack dressed up in his Johnny Appleseed costume and participated in the Killbuck Early American Days Parade.

“He won most authentic costume and got a little trophy,” Martin said. “He was real enthusiastic about that. Over the years, he also spoke at a number of schools locally and across the state and to civic groups.”

Martin said his mother mainly went with Jack to his appearances, but occasionally he got to go with him when he wasn’t teaching at area schools.

“As a substitute teacher, I like to say to the kids that my dad was Johnny Appleseed,” Martin said. “They ask me if I’m really that old and then I tell them that he just portrayed him.”

Martin is looking forward to introducing children and their families to Johnny Appleseed at the Apple Butter Stirrin′ Festival and possibly making a regular yearly appearance there.

“Roscoe Village talked about doing it the year after he passed away, but it seemed too early,” Martin said. “I think Dad would be happy we are doing this now and that it will add something to the festival.”

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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