Up from the ashes: BUMFS apple butter building under roof

Staff Reports
One year after the building burned down, the maintenance building that was once home to the Apple Harvest apple butter making process is now under roof.
Jeff Pyle, Apple Harvest volunteer and long-time overseer of the apple butter making process, checks out the new maintenance building now under construction on the BUMFS Burlington campus.

BURLINGTON - One year ago on April 25, the maintenance building on the main campus of the Burlington United Methodist Children’s Home burned to the ground.

The building had been the center of apple butter making operations for the Old Fashioned Apple Harvest Festival for many years. Volunteers from the local area as well as all over the state and region gathered in the building every fall to peel, core and cut apples as well as to prepare the jars and stir the kettles of hot, bubbly apple butter. The building was the site where apple butter was made and old and new friendships grew.

With the loss of the building in April, the future of the 2020 Apple Harvest seemed uncertain.

That question was quickly answered in June, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down 2020 fairs and festivals throughout the state.

It would be the first time in over 40 years that BUMFS had not held the Apple Harvest Festival.

Although BUMFS had insurance on the building and contents, it was not enough to cover all that was lost.  Once the word got out that BUMFS needed help, however, generous donors, the West Virginia United Methodist Foundation and the Virginia Higgins Foundation, and others responded to the need to rebuild.

After months of discussion and planning, the new, much larger structure is now under roof.

“As of late March, the building is plumbed and ready for the concrete floor, the exterior will be completed by mid-April and the interior by mid-May,” according to Matthew Watson, who is overseeing the project for Mineral Fabrication.

And as work continues on the building, plans are also well underway to hold the 2021 Apple Harvest Festival Oct. 2-3.