Ryan Robinson takes you for a ride in the passenger seat of his RV, off the grid, deep among the dramatic rock formations of the Utah Desert. Robinson and friends chill by the fire, tell stories, and of course, rig a one of a kind highline over the Looking Glass Arch in Moab, UT.
America loves apples and plants them just about everywhere they will grow. So as summer transitions into fall, it’s pretty easy to find apple festivals in many areas of the country as communities celebrate their local apple harvests along with the change of seasons.
While many apple orchards allow the public to pick their own apples in September and October, growers' associations and community groups often organize family friendly apple festivals that include everything from apple pie and apple butter making contests to apple pie eating contests, pumpkin patches, petting zoos, arts and crafts activities, hay rides, and live entertainment. Some apple festivals even have corn mazes, ax throwing competitions, parades. and 5K runs.
Here’s a sampling of close to 30 apple festivals taking place across the country in the coming weeks from the Pacific Northwest to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with nearby campgrounds that can be used as base camps to enjoy these activities:
Old Apple Tree Festival in Vancouver, Washington: This festival, scheduled for Oct. 7, celebrates the oldest living apple tree in the Pacific Northwest, which was planted at Fort Vancouver in 1826 and is considered to be the matriarch of Washington state’s apple industry. The festival provides family fun, food, music, and the history of Vancouver's Old Apple Tree. Throughout the day Urban Forestry Commissioners give away cuttings from the Old Apple Tree; cuttings are limited and will be given out until they are gone. This is a free, family-friendly event with activities for children, food, live music, cider pressing, and walking tours of Fort Vancouver Village and the Land Bridge. The festival also features a community apple cider pressing hosted by Urban Abundance. Bring your own apples and a clean container to catch your fresh cider. Approximately 12 lbs of apples will make a quart of cider. Nearby campgrounds include:
Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival: This Oct. 6-8 event includes a parade, a 5K Apple Fun Run/Walk, food, music and family activities, including pie eating contests, canoe and kayak races, as well as a farm and homestead tour and farm-to-table dinner and pancake breakfast. Nearby campgrounds include:
Apple Butter Festival in Oak Glen: This festival includes apple butter making, apple butter treats, live music, wagon rides, kids crafts, sip and paint classes, and an Oak Glen treasure hunt. Nearby campgrounds include:
Apple Activities in Placerville: The greater Placerville area in the Sierra Nevada foothills is famous for its many apple activities provided by growers affiliated with the Apple Hill Growers Association. One grower, High Hill Ranch, offers a variety of activities through September and October, including apple picking, fishing for trout, pony rides, hayride tours of the apple orchards, a pumpkin patch, and a craft show. Nearby campgrounds include:
Johnny Appleseed Days in Paradise: This Oct. 7-8 festival celebrates John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, who traveled for most of his life across the U.S., planting apple seeds and encouraging settlers to plant apple orchards. Paradise residents and members of the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce will gather to prepare Do-it-Yourself apple pie kits with fresh apples from Noble Orchards. Paradise will also host artisans from all over the state and beyond who will be selling a variety of handicrafts. The ever-popular children's area, sponsored by Paradise Unified School District, will feature face painting, nostalgic games, and Johnny Appleseed himself with fruit and stories. Nearby campgrounds include:
Cedarredge Applefest in Cedaredge: This Oct. 6-8 festival, taking place annual since 1977, celebrates area apple orchards and other fruit growers. Festivities include live music, art, crafts, food vendors, a 5 Alarm Chili Cookoff, golf tournament; a car, tractor and motorcycle show; a pinup competition, and a 5K run. Nearby campgrounds include:
Cider Days in Lakewood: This Oct. 7-8 event celebrates Lakewood’s agricultural heritage with an entertaining mix of live performances, activities, and tasty harvest treats, with demonstrations of apple pressing, cider, and a variety of apple goodies. The event includes tractor pulls and vintage power displays, children's activities, historic demonstrations, and a unique variety of exhibitors and vendors. The Cider Days festival wouldn’t be complete without everything apple, including apple pressing, cider, and a variety of apple goodies. Nearby campgrounds include:
Applefest at Living History Farm in Urbandale: This Sept. 16 event features apple treats, including apple butter, cake, pie, and cider. Festival attendees can print an apple recipe in the print shop and purchase apple goodies and tasty treats from local food vendors.
Murphysboro Apple Festival in Murphysboro: This Sept. 13-17 event is southern Illinois’ oldest and largest alcohol-free festival, drawing more than 45,000 visitors each year. Always held the second weekend after Labor Day, this five-day event packs downtown Murphysboro with family-friendly activities, including free entertainment, carnival rides, pageants, concessions, a car show, and a menu of apple-themed treats.
Apple Butter Festival in Spencer: This Sept. 16-17 event includes a parade, king and queen and prince and princess contests, baking contest, an apple butter contest, arts and crafts, entertainment, live music, and adult beverages. Nearby campgrounds include:
Charlevoix Apple Festival in Charlevoix:This Oct. 13-15 event is a fall harvest celebration which includes activities for the entire family with 125 exhibitor booths, pony rides, face painting, and a petting zoo hosted by the Charlevoix County 4-H. Dozens of Northern Michigan orchards are represented at Apple Fest and they bring more than 30 varieties of traditional and heirloom apples along with cider, baked goods, apple butter, and other fall produce like pumpkins and squash. The annual pumpkin carving contest offers prizes to carvers with the pumpkins displayed in Bridge Park during the weekend. A 5/10K foot race sponsored by the Charlevoix Kiwanis Club takes place Saturday morning. Nearby campgrounds include:
Michigan Apple Fest in Sparta: Activities at this Sept. 15-16 event include an apple pie baking contest; a kids apple pie eating contest; an adult apple pie eating contest; an apple peeling contest; a magic show; kids apple box tractor rides; pony rides; a petting zoo; kids crafts and games; an apple slingshot; and a lumberjack show. Nearby campgrounds include:
Tecumseh's Appleumpkin Festival: This Oct. 14-15 festival features carnival games, inflatables, a bungee jump, make-it-take-it crafts, corn box, a petting zoo, and kid's golf. Many children's activities are free. Adults can enjoy helicopter rides, monster truck rides, various competitions, and delicious food and drinks. There's also live music at the Appleumpkin Stage on South Evans Street as well as various performances on four stages throughout the town. Other highlights include an Antique Tractor Show and Sunday a Corvette Club Car Show on South Evans Street. Festival attendees can also take a shuttle to Kapnick Apple Orchards to enjoy fresh apples as well as apple cider and donuts. Kapnick Orchards also offers wagon rides and over 80 craft booths. Nearby campgrounds include:
Kimmswick Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick: This annual event, which takes place the last weekend of October, features about 600 food and craft vendors and live music, including bluegrass, dulcimer, and country rock. The organizers offer a host of activities to keep your kiddos occupied too, namely train rides, pony rides, inflatables, bounce houses, climbing walls, and face painters. Nearby campgrounds include:
Afton Apple in Hastings: This family owned and operated orchard has over 250 acres in the heart of the St. Croix Valley. Special apple and farm activities are scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Oct. 7-8 and 14-15, including apple picking, hay rides, a petting farm, and a 15-acre corn maze. Nearby campgrounds include:
Glastonbury Applefest: The 48th annual Glastonbury Apple Harvest & Music Festival will take place at Riverfront Park Oct. 13-15. This year’s festivities include amusement rides, food trucks, live music, local entertainment, an expanded Harvest Pub, and a 5k Road Race on Sunday. There will also be a petting zoo. Nearby campgrounds include:
Southington Apple Harvest Festival: This six-day event, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and Oct. 6-8, is one of the largest and longest running festivals in the Northeast and typically draws a crowd of over 100,000 people. The festival is one of Connecticut's top tourist events held during the height of New England's beautiful fall foliage. Visitors will enjoy a jam-packed schedule of events, entertainment, activities, specialty foods, crafts, and fun for all ages. Nearby campgrounds include:
Apple Harvest Festival in Ithaca: This festival, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 1, features farmstand-fresh apples and produce; delectable apple and seasonal baked goods; a variety of food trucks offering tasty bites; and a craft fair with artisans from around the region. There will also be live music and entertainment, plus plenty of great apple and apple-inspired products for sale inside shops in and around downtown. Nearby campgrounds include:
LaFayette Apple Festival in LaFayette: This Oct. 7-8 festival, held annually in the heart of Upstate New York’s apple-growing region, features apple pie and scarecrow competitions in addition to featuring crafters and artisans, roaming entertainers, and musical performers.The festival is located directly on U.S. Route 20, which is a New York State Scenic Byway. Nearby campgrounds include:
Mill Neck Manor's Annual Apple Festival in Mill Neck: This festival, held Oct. 7-8 on Long Island, showcases an assortment of apple varieties, Karl Ehmer specialty meats, grilled bratwurst, a wide variety of cheeses, and plenty of mouth-watering baked goods, jellies, fudge and strudel. The festival also showcases the latest in deaf technology, healthcare checkups, children’s face painting, handmade country crafts, American Sign Language books/novelty items, and a pumpkin patch. Other exciting additions that visitors can expect from this year’s festival include craft beer, wine, and spirits for purchase, and plenty of activities for the kids. A schedule of live entertainment is also in store, featuring a lineup of musicians, children’s entertainment, ASL classes, and pie eating contests. This event is organized by the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, which is dedicated to creating a world in which Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals are included, empowered, celebrated, and embraced as equals through quality educational, employment, audiological, and spiritual programs and services. Nearby campgrounds include:
National Apple Harvest Festival in Biglerville: This annual family-friendly event, scheduled for Oct. 7-8 and 14-15, in Pennsylvania’s apple country, features everything from apple pie to apple guacamole as well as hundreds of arts and craft vendors. There will also be ax throwing, chainsaw carving, Native American dancers, a petting zoo, a caricature artist, and a puppet show. Nearby campgrounds include:
Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs: This unique Oct. 7-8 festival, now in its 48th year, offers over 150 vendors, a parade, various contests, including a hog calling contest, live music, domestic and craft beers, all with the smell of apple butter wafting through the air.Nearby campgrounds include:
Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival in Clear Brook: This festival, slated for Sept. 16-17, includes an apple pie judging contact, an apple pie eating contest, an apple pie eating contest for kids, free pony rides, a corn hole tournament, ax throwing, and a kiddie train among other attractions. Nearby campgrounds include:
Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.