Apples bring out the best in BayfieldSome 45,000 people turned out for the 51st Bayfield Apple Festival, a slight drop in the number of visitors.
By: Monte Stewart, Wisconsin Public Radio
Caramel apples, sliced apples with caramel sauce, apple pie, apple chili, wapple cones — yes, wapple, not waffle — apple brats, apple cider and apple turnovers. If it has apple in it, it was probably served at last weekend’s Bayfield Apple Festival.
Some 45,000 people turned out for Bayfield’s 51st celebration of the fruit that made Adam and Eve famous.
Apple Hill Orchard Owner Bill Ferraro said that without Apple Fest, it would be hard to stay in business. Instead of shipping the apples to customers, the customers come to them.
Even with a slight drop in the number of visitors this year, he was able to sell as much as in 2011, Ferraro said. And his crop was great.
“I don’t know if people believe me or not, but this was the most beautiful Cortland apple crop we’ve had in 20 years,” Ferraro said. “One little boy who was out picking his own … I don’t how old was he was, 5, he came in and we put half his prize apple on the scale and it weighed a little over a pound.”
Bayfield Chamber of Commerce marketing director Erin Johnson said the festival started because of the 14 surrounding fruit farms and apple orchards.
“It has a huge economic impact on our area and surrounding areas,” she said. “It’s a really big weekend that everyone looks forward to. Finishing off the season with a little bump in the summer profit.”
Muriel Erickson of Erickson’s Orchard said their apple cider sold out. They still have apples and honey crisp left. They are squeezing out more apple cider for this week.
“We also participate in the parade and we won first place with our float and we won first place with our apple pies, so it has been a very successful fest for us,” she said.
Bayfield Mayor Larry MacDonald said the festival helps the orchards, area restaurants and hotels stay busy at a time when tourism usually slows down.
Jerry Phillips of the Rittenhouse Inn said the highlight of Apple Fest is when the Pipes & Drums of Thunder Bay play right in the Inn.
“And if you can only imagine 25 high hats, totally costumed, phenomenal pipes and drummers come marching into the Rittenhouse Inn during dinner and play,” he said.
Phillips said he felt blessed that despite the drought and extreme weather this year, the community was still able to have apples and Apple Fest.
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