Washington State is known for its abundance of delicious apple varieties. To its first incorporated city, Steilacoom, apples mean even more. After all, it was pioneer Nathaniel Orr who brought along the knowledge about orchards and the idea of commercializing them. The Steilacoom Apple Squeeze has been celebrating these facts – and, above all, apples – for 44 years now and might have had its biggest outcome only last Sunday, October 1.
As early as 9.30 a.m., the first lines were starting to form on Lafayette Street, the hub of the Steilacoom Apple Squeeze. Cars were searching for the scarce free parking spaces near historic downtown, as people came flocking from all directions to join in the annual fun event. Cider floats, mulled cider, apple pie, apple butter, apple scones, apple fritters, apple t-shirts, apple decoration, apple identification, apple recipes, and cookbooks … you looked for it, you’d find it.
At the center of it all were the two meadows dedicated to what gives the event its name – squeezing apples into cider. Volunteers of hosting Steilacoom Historical Museum Association (SHMA), press donors, boy scouts, and other volunteering organizations helped hundreds of visitors turn the bounty of colorful apples to choose from into mouth-watering apple juice. Meanwhile, everybody who didn’t want to wait that long for their turn was also able to purchase cider by the gallon at a nearby museum stand.
Of course, Apple Squeeze organizer Marianne Bull also always invites other vendors to participate in the event. This year, there were three new food trucks that quickly sold out of their scrumptious looking (and tasty) fare. Handcrafted jewelry, soaps and lotions, chocolates and compound butter, popcorn and floral decoration lent a colorful ambience to Steilacoom’s beloved fall fair. Local bands Nine Pound Hammer, Steve and Kristi Nebel, and Country Dave and the Pickin’ Crew did a mighty fine job to entertain on an acoustic level; and the Steilacoom High School Choir set enchantingly harmonious highlights all over the place, collecting for a New York trip for their next concert destination (yes, they are that good indeed!). Music was also performed at the Wagon Shop by Joseph Pates, a local college student.
The tennis court, as always, held activities for kids, hosted by the Steilacoom High School Key Club. And the Steilacoom Historical Museum with its popular Wagon Shop as well as the Steilacoom Tribal Museum were venues that attracted a whole lot of visitors too, a neat geographical bracket to the Squeeze on either end of downtown. A new attraction was also a camel at the pony rides; and rumors have it that amongst all the visitors bringing their leashed pets, one got a lot of love for his or her pet pig.
“We are very happy that so many people came and appreciated our food and cider,” Marianne Bull says. “That the Seahawks played in the evening of Apple Squeeze day, unlike last year when it was in the afternoon, may have helped; but we also got a lot of great publicity from the local media. In the end, it all helps our museum program that depends on volunteers and donations.” Generous support for this year’s Apple Squeeze came especially from museum members and organizations such as Boy Scout Group # 71, Builder’s Club from pioneer Middle School, Microsoft employees (whose volunteering hours were matched by Microsoft donations to SHMA), and the 42nd MP Brigade from JBLM. “It’s one happy event that brings the town and the entire region together,” says Marianne.
The 45th Annual Apple Squeeze will take place on October 7, 2018. Be sure you won’t miss it!