EAST CANTON - At the 23rd Annual Pennsylvania Apple 'n Cheese Festival in East Canton, which ended Sunday, the public got a chance to see recent improvements made to the South Meadow Village, which showcases the history of the area.

Over the past year, more items have been put on display inside the East Canton Public Hall, which was dismantled a few years ago at its previous location on state Route 414 in East Canton, and moved to the South Meadow Village at the Manley-Bohlayer Farm, where it was reassembled.

At last year's Apple Cheese Festival, the public was able to see the interior of the hall for the first time at its new location.

Among the items that have been added to the hall's exhibits over the past year are a wood-burning potbelly stove and other items that could be found in a local kitchen in the 1890s, said Denise Morris, a member of the board of directors of Rekindle the Spirit Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the farm.

The building which was constructed in 1896 was originally used as a temperance hall and later became a community hall, where, among things, 4-H clubs met and voting took place, she said. It still has the its voting booths, she said.

The exhibits in the hall aim to show the public something of what life was like locally in the 1890s, such as how people washed their clothes or did their cooking, she said.

"It was like going back in memories to see all that. It was very interesting," Molly Skelly of Nelson, Pa., said after touring the hall. She said that she had been raised in a home with a potbelly stove.

Besides the East Canton Public Hall, the South Meadow Village includes the one-room Hoagland schoolhouse, a cider mill, and a blacksmith shop.

This year's Apple 'n Cheese Festival was also the first time that the public could see an exhibit of apple cider making using the recently restored cider press in the South Meadow Village, said Gene Kennedy, a board member of Rekindle the Spirit.

The restoration of the cider press, which dates back to 1860, has been taking place over the past four years, he said.

An estimated 12,500 people attended the Pennsylvania Apple 'n Cheese Festival on Saturday, the first day of the festival, said Roger Tracey, festival chairman.

Overall, there was good attendance on Saturday, despite the fact that it was raining until late Saturday morning, he said.

As of early Sunday afternoon, attendance for that day was also satisfactory, he said.

A new addition at the festival this year was the Zoomobile from Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, N.Y., which brought a display of live animals to the festival, including hawks and snakes, he said.

The festival, which takes place at the Manley-Bohlayer Farm, also featured 41 food vendors, 74 crafts vendors, kids' games, live music, chainsaw carving, and much more.

There were a total of 217 entries in the festival's photography and fine arts show this year, whose Best of Show award in the adult Fine Arts category went to Carol Vanderpool of Waverly, N.Y., said Marcie Shinn, co-coordinator of the arts & photography show.

Best of Show in Adult Photography was won by Kirk Quinn of Williamsport.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.