I don’t know about you, but in autumn when the weather starts changing, my energy increases. Cooler temperatures prevail, and best of all, apples ripen! Trees change their energy level, too. Sap slows, and crisp, cool nights change the apples; they quit increasing in size and grow sweeter and more flavorful.
The Wheat Ridge Historical Society is ready and willing to accommodate all those gorgeous red beauties at this year’s Apple Cider Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Historical Park, 4610 Robb St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring all the apples you have and some clean containers, and for a small fee you can turn those apples into delicious cider. Don’t have any apples? Don’t worry! Gracious donors have provided lots, and they’re yours for as long as supplies last. Just remember to bring your clean containers.
Bring the kids (grandkids, too!). Watching them provides some interesting entertainment. They’re utterly fascinated by the hand-cranked apple press. They love tossing whole apples into the hopper and watching the fruits jump around until the rotors catch them, smashing ‘em against the side of the hopper. Then, they’re gone, swallowed by the creaking wooden machine. The kids hang back momentarily when the lever is placed at the top of the screw. As the lever is forced round and round, the attached plate descends, squeezing the juice from the apple mash. That part’s a mystery, though. All they see is the juice running down the trough, headed right into their container to be taken home and enjoyed. Yum!
The Cider Festival celebrates not only the annual apple harvest, but also the local history of fruit growing as a business. By the late 19th century, agriculture in this area had evolved in the direction of fruit orchards, primarily apples, meeting the demand of an ever more populated Denver area. Part of what would become the town of Wheat Ridge was originally known as Fruitdale.
Every year the Historical Society celebrates this heritage at the Cider Fest with demonstrations of the old-time methods of processing apples. Come see how applesauce was made when forced through a metal sieve, then stop by the apple peeler demonstration and enjoy the long strings of peel right off the apple. We’ll have some homemade apple treats and baked goods on hand for a donation, and Twisted Smoothie will be there with liquid treats.
All of the buildings in the Historical Park will be open, and tours are free. Come see the museums and celebrate apples for a fine fall day for the entire family.