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My Town: Johnny Appleseed helps kick off Harvest on the Ridge Sept. 20 | Arts & Culture

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My Town: Johnny Appleseed helps kick off Harvest on the Ridge Sept. 20
My Town: Johnny Appleseed helps kick off Harvest on the Ridge Sept. 20

SPARTA, Mich.—Johnny Appleseed is on his way to Sparta to share his story of how “The Ridge” became filled with apple orchards.

Johnny will bring his trusted donkey, Levi for rides while entertaining children with his story and song.    His tale helps kick off this year’s Harvest on the Ridge festival in Sparta on Sept. 20.  This year’s event will include a couch racing fundraiser, the Dirty Apple Obstacle Run, a cupcake baking contest, an apple pie eating contest, hay rides, corn mazes, kids’ activities and a farmers’ market, all located in Rogers Park.

Sparta is the gateway to Fruit Ridge or “the Ridge”, which was created by glaciers long ago.  The gently rolling slopes feature fertile clay loam soils which hold moisture well, providing the perfect terrain for growing fruits and vegetables and raising livestock.  The Ridge is 158 square miles, covering Alpine, Sparta and Tyrone townships in Kent County; Ashland Township in Newaygo County; Casnovia Township in Muskegon County and Chester and Wright townships in Ottawa County.  Fruit Ridge is responsible for 60 percent of Michigan’s apples.