BUSTI - A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits those attending the 38th annual Busti Apple Festival Sunday.
People who visit the Busti Grist Mill will be able to see the inside mechanical workings of the machinery which once produced flour and animal grist.
Norman Carlson, Busti Historical Society publicity chairman, said this was the first year renovations started on the machinery inside the mill.
''We've made tremendous, dramatic progress. This was a really big year. We broke through this year,'' he said.
The Busti Historical Society generates money from the Apple Festival for renovations to the mill. Through the years, money has gone to repair the mill's structure and purchasing nearby buildings.
''Now it has reached the point of natural progression that we start working on the machinery,'' he said.
Carlson said he wishes some of the early renovators of the mill could still be alive today to see the progress.
''It was a great thrill to start working on the mill's machinery. More than anything, I wish my father (Paul) and other people who were dedicated to it were still alive to see this,'' he said. ''When we first started, we hoped of finishing by 1976, but I guess that was unrealistic.''
The project to restore the mill by raising money started with a 4-H group in April 1971. Carlson said that is when a mill restoration account was opened. Then in August 1971, restorers first went on the grounds to begin work, which was followed in October when people entered the mill to start renovations. By 1972, the mill was given to the Busti Historical Society. Then the original Busti Pioneer Crafts Festival was held in September to raise money. The crafts festival evolved into the Busti Apple Festival in 1975 and has been held the last weekend in September ever since.
Carlson said the renovations on the machinery is halfway completed. People who will attend the Apple Festival will be able to see wheels and stones capable of grinding grain. Maybe one day the mill will run like it did more than a hundred years ago.
The mill was built in 1838 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976.
The festival runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features pioneer and 19th-century skill demonstrations, craft vendors, farmer's market, musical entertainment and ready to eat and take home foods. The historic mill and the Busti Museum will be open.
Adult admission fee is $3, with children under 12 free. Parking is free at the firemen's grounds. The admission charged also supports the Busti Fire Department. People are asked to please leave their pets at home.