In just its third year, Dunwoody’s Apple Cider Days has grown to become one of the city’s largest events. More than 30,000 people are expected to gather in October at Perimeter Mall to take part in the festival’s mix of carnival rides, food and games.

Dolores Lauderdale, co-president of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, on Aug. 24 asked City Council officially to categorize the October festival as a “signature” event because of the size of the crowd it draws. The council’s unanimous vote means the city will pay half the cost of hiring police for the fall festival.

Lauderdale said Apple Cider Days brought out about 15,000 people in its first year, 2013, and the nonprofit decided it would continue hosting the event in October as a fundraiser for its educational programs.

Other large events include the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s Fourth of July Parade and Food Truck Thursdays, and the preservation trust-hosted Lemonade Days festival held in the spring.

Lemonade Days started as a community effort to clean up and repair damage from a devastating tornado in 1998. The spring festival, which also includes carnival rides, attracted about 80,000 this year, Lauderdale said.

“Lemonade Days started 16 years ago,” Lauderdale said. “It began because so many trees were destroyed, as a way of ‘making lemonade out of lemons.’”

Most of the money raised during Lemonade Days and Apple Cider Days goes to the restoration of the Donaldson-Bannister Farmhouse, but Lauderdale said additional funds are allotted to maintain three cemeteries, including New Hope Cemetery, where a number of early settlers and Confederate soldiers are buried.

Apple Cider Days is scheduled Oct. 21 through Oct. 25 at Perimeter Mall, with carnival rides, midway games and a variety of food vendors. The event is free, but visitors must purchase tickets for amusement rides and food.

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