WARWICK-The welcome mat will be out for an estimated 30,000 visitors this Sunday, Oct. 3. That's when Warwick will celebrate its 16th annual Applefest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The traditional festival, held since 1988 to celebrate the apple harvest, has the unique distinction of being the largest and most attended event in the Warwick Valley. In June, 2002, the American Bus Association voted Applefest one of the top 10 festivals on its list of 100 best events in North America. The popularity of Applefest usually creates a traffic problem for the Warwick Police Department. Visitors are urged to follow signs to designated parking areas such as Memorial Park and the Middle School. Shuttle busses will then take them to and from the major Applefest attractions. Transportation for the disabled will be available at the Middle School parking area. Coordinator Betty Garrison and her committee have been planning for the annual festival since last fall. This year it will play host to 268 craft vendors and 40 food vendors. There will also be free entertainment at four locations. New for this year is a 60 page Applefest Program Guide containing vendor names and contact information, events schedule, artists, entertainment locations and educational material about apple varieties and the history of the apple in New York state. It will be available for a modest donation of $1. The guide also includes a map of local orchards open to apple picking. Peter and Sondra Hall of Business Demographics, Inc., Pine Island, suggested the guide and then donated its design and production. 2004 Applefest T - shirts and posters will also be on sale outside the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce "Caboose" on South St. The logo was selected earlier this year from entries in a contest won by Patrick Gannon. The local artist is a free lance illustrator and graphic designer who works with children's books and editorial illustrations. He describes his winning entry as a conceptual and narrative cut paper illustration. His and past tee shirt designs will be on display at the Applefest booth. The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Warwick Valley Community Center are the hosts of Applefest 2004. Local business sponsors for the event are Crystal Springs, Mountain Creek, Pool Fx, Provident Bank and WVT Communications. Although the popularity of Applefest may cause some inconvenience for the residents of Warwick, the committee reminds everyone that besides being a fun event, Applefest is also a major fundraiser and proceeds from the event are used for town-wide community projects and non-profit organizations. The Warwick Advertiser publishes a full schedule of events. But, keeping with the tradition, Garrison asks that you not miss the apple pie contest in front of the Cortland - Kuiken Brothers Lumber lot. Judging starts at 10 a.m. and will be completed by 1 p.m. And then, all the pies will be sold by the slice.