Photo by Tina McDougall
Sunday, October 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the day to celebrate apples in historic Steilacoom on the shores of Puget Sound. The 34th annual Apple Squeeze will be held on Lafayette Street at the Wilkes Street intersection and is a great event for all ages. A Steilacoom tradition since 1973, the event benefits the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association which maintains the Nathaniel Orr Pioneer Home Site and the Bair Drug & Hardware Store.
The Apple Squeeze features volunteers with hand operated cider presses for pressing apples into cider the old fashioned way. Washed apples from bins of Jonagolds, Galas, Red Delicious and others are combined and run through the presses for a delicious blend of flavors. The leftover apple mash goes back to the farm for horses and cows to munch – recycling in the best sense of the word. For those not inclined to squeeze the cider themselves, jugs of fresh cider from Lattin’s Country Cider Mill in Olympia will also be sold.
Three bands will furnish toe-tapping music all day. The Horizon Band, The Filucy Band and the local group, Spot the Dog, will be found at the post office steps. In addition, quality handcraft booths and a variety of food booths will line Lafayette Street. Crafts will include woodworking, fabric art, vintage containers with plants, jewelry, fine arts and others. Many of the food booths relate to the apple with apple pie, hot apple butter on bread, caramel apples, hot spiced cider and apple fritters being on the day’s menu. A new booth at the Bair Drug Store site will serve cider shakes as well as ice cream cones. Activities for children will include games, pumpkin walks, pumpkin painting and the ever popular pony rides from noon to 4 p.m.
One of the most interesting booths on the street is the apple identification booth, manned by several local pomologists. Bring your unknown apple with leaves attached and they will help you identify the variety and instruct you in the best way to grow and care for the tree. Pioneer Nathaniel Orr learned orchard management in Oregon after traveling the Oregon Trail and before he came to Steilacoom. He was responsible for many orchards in the developing pioneer town and some of his trees survive in Steilacoom today making the apple connection to the history of this area very real.
While in town, look for the many scarecrows around Steilacoom competing for prizes for the most unique. This year the theme is construction men due to the larg numbers of real construction men working in Steilacoom this summer and fall. Leaning against lamp posts or propped up on bales of hay, they provide a fitting ambiance for celebrating autumn in Steilacoom.