Apple Festivities in Sacopee Valley
With our short growing season in Maine, it feels like the whole year is spent getting ready for the abundance that are the months of August and September. Then comes the day that you put on your flannel or a sweater for the first time - a sure sign that fall is here. The sweet smell of apple pie infused with cinnamon and nutmeg beats pumpkin spice for me any day. How can one not get excited for apple picking season and other festivities this time of the year? Here, in the Sacopee Valley, the culmination of apple celebration happens on the day of Cornish Apple Festival which always falls on last Saturday in September and this year – September 29th!
The actual festival at the historic Thompson Park is organized by CAB – Cornish Association of Businesses volunteers and is in its 29th year! Scott Rowley, President of CAB and Festival Organizer for the last 10 years, loves seeing and hearing the visitors each year and has watched friend’s children grow up and now bring their kids to the festival.
“The apple festival is not only a fundraiser for CAB, but it allows many local community groups including, high school groups to safely raise money during this family event” - Scott Rowley
Mother, Lynn (R), and daughter Hannah (L) enjoying fried dough at last years festival.
The festival starts at 9am in Cornish Village where vendors are set up with many goods for sale,
including freshly picked apples, cider, and donuts! You can enjoy live music throughout the
day, watch the Apple Pie Contest and Auction on the front porch of the Inn at Cornish, judging starts at 1pm. The Cornish Historical Society will be hosting an Open House and Apple Pie Slice Sale from 9am - 4pm.
Free parking is available at the Cornish Fairgrounds with a free shuttle to the village running regularly. Arrive early and check out the Cornish Antiques Show & Vintage Fair going on at the same time within the Fairgrounds.
Next, just up the street from Thompson Park at 135 High Road, you will find Cornish Cider
Company. Starting at noon and up until 5pm, the cidery will offer tours of their cellar cidery, tastings under an apple tree and cider and merchandise for sale. This is a home and cidery of owners Jared and Jacqueline and they have a very special process that you will understand once you taste their cider*:
“Our ciders are made with our favorite common varieties that we purchase from local orchards, traditional heirloom cider varieties, and wild seedling apples that we pick. The heirloom apples and wild seedling apples bring tannins and provide body and character while the common varieties add acidity and fruity elements. Our ciders are fermented with wild yeast the old-fashioned way and we are influenced by French and English cider making methods. This fall we will offer our flagship, Common Fruit, and our new one-off cider, Odd Barrel.” Jacqueline Carr
Stay in touch with Cornish Cider Company on social media, as further tasting and tour hours
*Photo courtesy Cornish Cider Co.
The Cornish United Church of Christ (across from the Bonney Memorial Library) will be holding their Applefest Supper from 4:30PM - 6:30PM. Adults are just $8.00, children $4.00 while kids under 5 eat for free. The supper includes baked beans, ham, casseroles, salads and hotdogs, apple crisp and apple pie.
*Photo courtesy Cornish UCC
Finish the day at Apple Acres in Hiram, just a short five minute drive from Cornish Village.
Apple Acres Farm is a gorgeous orchard that overlooks breathtaking views of the area. It’s an exciting time, as the farm is evolving to transition to organic by 2019, in addition they have planted peaches, blueberries and over 20 new varieties of apples, completed building an indoor bathroom, and are working to expand farm to table lunch menu. This will be the only organic apple operation in Southern Maine. It’s been a huge learning curve but they hope to take this
as an opportunity to educate the public about the process.
Photo by Dasha Smirnova
“As we go through this process, while we always do grow beautiful fruit, we will have some more fruit that has surface blemishes on it. We aim to educate our customers about the thousands of pounds of pesticides used every year on apples for surface blemishes. We think that people who come to a pick your own who want to experience a connection to the orchard are a great audience for this kind of education.” - Molly Griffin McKenna, Farm Manager.
The apple picking season runs from Labor Day until Halloween, but the farm store will be
opened through Thanksgiving offering many local products and gifts, apple cider, and pre-
picked apples. You can also order your Thanksgiving pies.
There are so many fun activities for the whole family at Apple Acres. They have a great kids
playground, an apple blaster, and outdoor sitting perfect for a picnic with the most gorgeous
view. It is also an enchanting venue for 7-10 weddings a year. Bill and Molly will also happily
host school tours.
If you come to the Bluegrass Festival on September 29th, bring a blanket picnic or you can purchase chicken BBQ plate for $12 and enjoy a 3 bluegrass bands doing rotating sets from 11-5pm.
I don’t know of any better way than this to celebrate the season. With all these activities,
making Cornish a destination for the weekend is an absolute must. If you are here already,
why not finish the weekend at the opening day of Fryeburg Fair on Sunday, September 30th?
After the festivals, if you are in the area on Saturday, October 13th and are interested in
learning a little bit of heirloom apple lore, come to Great Ossipee Museum/Hiram Historical Society (former Mt. Cutler School), 20 Historical Ridge, Hiram, Maine 04041. Sean Turley, local apple enthusiast, will talk about the history of heirloom apples including New England famous Balwin apple. He will present a slideshow of old apple orchards, including Hiram’s and asks attendees to bring an apple or an old photo to discuss. The presentation starts at 1:30pm.
By: Dasha Smirnova