Bayfield happily celebrates apples in annual festivalKristen Sandstrom wants people who have never visited Bayfield’s popular Apple Festival to know what they’re missing.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
Kristen Sandstrom wants people who have never visited Bayfield’s popular Apple Festival to know what they’re missing.
“I generally say that it’s a really big party for 40,000 or 50,000 of our closest friends,” said Sandstrom, the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau’s marketing and events manager.
“It has that quintessential small-town festival feel,” she said. “We try as hard as we can to truly make this about celebrating our fall harvest.”
The festival’s events begin today and run through Sunday. Depending on the weather, anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 people may visit the small town and its nearby orchards during the festival, now in its 48th year.
“People enjoy eating apples, eating apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, apple cookies, you name it,” orchard owner Jim Erickson said while talking of the festival’s popularity. “We have a very good crop of apples this year — all the orchards do — so there will be no shortage.”
That’s a good thing for a festival based on the consumption of apples and all things imaginable made from apples. In addition to Erickson’s list there are apple dumplings, sundaes, jams and jellies, cider, brats, mustard, apples Romanoff and turkey-apple-cheddar panini. More than 40 orchards and food booths will be selling Bayfield’s apples and apple-based delicacies Friday through Sunday.
This year visitors even have the option of visiting a hairdressing booth and getting a hairdo that looks like an apple.
People who don’t enjoy apples, however, can still enjoy the festival, which offers more than 150 arts and crafts booths; a children’s carnival and a wide-ranging selection of entertainers.
“We have such a variety of different things for different people,” Sandstrom said. “Every year there are new things happening. This year we have a trio of local actors that are performing the complete works of William Shakespeare in less than 90 minutes.”
Bayfield’s size might help explain the festival’s popularity.
“It’s a small town where everything is centrally located,” Sandstrom said. “You can go see a carnival, you can go to art in the park, you can go see entertainment at the grandstand stage and it’s all within three, four blocks.”
The festival’s single most popular event is probably Sunday’s parade. More than 60 units will take part in this year’s parade. The finale comes when about 400 members from 12 separate marching bands join together to march the parade route again playing “On Wisconsin.”
Jim Erickson and his wife, Muriel, are the parade’s grand marshals. Sandstrom credits Erickson with being one of the festival’s founders.
“The festival has grown over the years, but it has remained the Bayfield Apple Festival,” Erickson said. “It’s a fun time for everybody in the whole area.”