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Apple ambassador promotes apples, sings, dances

Margaret Butler, the daughter of Skytop Orchard owners Dave and Lindsey Butler, knows apples. Margaret Butler, the daughter of Skytop Orchard owners Dave and Lindsey Butler, knows apples.

ZIRCONIA — This year's Apple Ambassador, Margaret Butler, is the third-generation of an apple growing family from Zirconia.

From a Friday morning breakfast to the end of her ride as the Apple Festival queen during Monday's King Apple Parade, "Pretty much I'm under their command the whole time," she said.
The daughter of Lindsey and Dave Butler, Margaret will make an appearance Friday morning at the Kiwanis pancake breakfast, the traditional kickoff event for the weekend, and then attend the opening ceremonies at the Historic Courthouse on Friday.
"I ride the float, of course, and go into all the different businesses and do community relations, talk to people, announce people on the stage," she said.
A senior at Hendersonville High School, Margaret competed with nominees selected by other county schools for the Apple Ambassador crown and a $2,000 scholarship. She had to sit for an interview, get two letters of recommendation and write a speech about the importance of apples. Maybe the committee that chose her was following the adage about recruiting someone to do an important job: find the busiest person you know.
A member of the HHS leadership class made up of top students, Butler will be going like mad from morning until night starting this week. Last week, she told her mom she had to drive into town to help with freshman orientation. She gets no rest when the Apple Festival ends.
She's playing Liesl in the South Carolina Children's Theatre production of "The Sound of Music," which opens Friday, Sept. 7, and runs for 10 performances through Sept. 23. (It's directed by Betsy Bisson, the former YouTheatre director and Flat Rock Playhouse actor who is artistic and education director for the South Carolina program. It also stars Playhouse veteran Lisa K. Bryant, now a drama teacher at North Henderson High School, as Maria.)
School, performing and promoting apples leaves less time to help out at the family business, although she's logged plenty of work hours at the family's Skytop Orchard, a popular U-pick farm at 3,000-feet elevation high above the Village of Flat Rock.
"I've sold caramel apples, I've shown people where to go in the orchard, all sorts of things," she said. "I know the business pretty well."
As a performer, she's quick with a riff when a reporter asks, Should people eat apples?
"They should definitely eat apples because they're healthy and they're local, and it's always good to support local foods," she said with a wide smile. "And they're good for any type of recipe. You can throw them in salads and pies and everything. They're delicious."