HARTFORD - The Hartford Apple Festival pretty much has everything a community festival would have, plenty of food, rides and games for children and ... arm wrestling?
That's right, arm wrestling, for women and men.
''It just takes everything you got, struggling, trying to get your best move,'' said John Whitman, the 21-year-old from Hartford who won the right-handed open class, 150 pounds or less. ''You can't let off for a second because the other guy is going to take advantage of it.''
Jacob Baker, 8, of Hartford, readies to shoot a paint ball from a slingshot Sunday afternoon at the Hartford Apple Festival. The game was a fundraiser for Boy Scout Troop 90 in Hartford. Photo by Ron Selak Jr.
Inside the tent that had square dancing before the double-elimination tournament began Sunday, participants, when their name was called, locked hands and tried mightily - some yelled and grunted trying to summon all their power - to best their opponent.
The matches, for the most part, ended quickly.
Jeff Bailes of Farmdale participated in the apple festival's competition before and has arm wrestled elsewhere too.
Queen - Emily DeScenna, 16, Hartford
1st runner-up - Brittany Porterfield, 17, Orangeville
2nd runner-up - Jennet Bertmeyer, 17, Hartford
Porterfield also was named Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic
Women - Taylor Baumiller
Left-handed - Jim Davis
Right-handed, 200+ pounds - Jim Davis
Right-handed, 150 pounds and less - John Whitman
''It's amazing,'' said Bailes, 18. ''One of kind. There's no other thing like it.''
Bob Wilson, who was born with cerebral palsy, said arm wrestling is a way for him to show other people with disabilities that ''they can do anything they want to achieve.''
Because of his disability, he can only use one arm to wrestle. In arm wrestling, opponents can grip a bar on the stand with their opposite hand.
Wilson, 42, of Sharon, Pa., said the ''object is to not get pinned, get hurt or hurt anyone else.'' He said he's been arm wrestling for about 14 years.
Meanwhile, the rest of the festival was affected by poor weather, especially Saturday, which saw the cancellation of the parade due to a fast moving storm.
''This was the first time ever that our parade got canceled,'' said apple festival committee chairwoman Kelley Baumiller. ''It was so disappointing.''
But that didn't seem to dampen spirits. Sunday, the festival's last day was crisp, but no rain and full of activity. ''It's been nice, every year it seems to get better,'' Baumiller said.
Next year is the 50th festival, and Baumiller said plans in the works include maybe fireworks, frog races and a greased pig contest. Some fundraising is happening now and will continue for next year, she said.
''We want to go back to the old time,'' Baumiller said. ''What it was like 50 years ago is what we would like to see at next year's festival.''