PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend will host the inaugural Olympic Peninsula Apple and Cider Festival this weekend.
The three-day festival, which will begin Friday, will celebrate apples and the people who grow them and raise money for hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, according to Daniel Millholland of Thunderbull Productions, one of the event coordinators.
Tickets are available for $25 for a cider tasting Saturday and $125 for access to all the weekend’s activities including a five-course meal Friday. They can be purchased online at Appleand CiderFest.com.
Apples are synonymous with the state of Washington, and orchards on the Olympic Peninsula date back to the late 1800s, Millholland said.
More recently, the area has seen an explosion in cideries such as Finnriver, Alpenfire and Eaglemount opening in northeast Jefferson County and beginning to produce a variety of cider flavors.
“Apples and cider have played an important role in Northwest culture since the earliest settlers arrived in the area,” said Millholland in a press release.
“The first annual Olympic Peninsula Apple and Cider Festival celebrates the traditions and culture of growing apples and brewing cider with a jam-packed weekend of programming at Olympic Peninsula cideries, breweries and venues.”
The festival will start Friday night at Finistère at 1025 Lawrence St., Port Townsend. The restaurant will host a five-course dinner with seasonal food from chefs Deborah Taylor and husband Scott Ross in Uptown Port Townsend from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday starts bright and early at 9 a.m. at the Port Townsend Farmers Market with more than 70 local vendors and a lesson on cooking with apples from Jefferson Healthcare chef Arran Stark.
Starting at 1 p.m. at the Palindrome, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, will be a hard cider tasting with more than 40 ciders available, along with cheese and apple-based snacks.
Tickets include 10 cider tastings and a 2-ounce tasting glass.
In attendance will be Port Townsend’s Alpenfire Cidery and Eaglemount Wine and Cider, along with Chimacum-based Finnriver Cider and cider makers from all over Washington, from Spokane to Vashon Island, as well as 2 Towns Cider House from Corvallis, Ore.
Propolis Brewing and Admiralty Distillers also will provide non-cider drink options.
At the tasting will be 900 pounds of Granny Smith apples for sale, donated by Davies Brothers Orchards in Orondo. Proceeds will go to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the orchard said.
“Inspired in part by the Franklin Cider Days on the East Coast, this festival is a new Northwest tradition, grounded in the flavor of the season and the culture of the region — rugged, classy and delicious,” Millholland said in a press release.
After the tasting, Propolis will host an after-party complete with food trucks, a fire show and dancing from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at its Port Townsend location, 2457 Jefferson St.
On Sunday, Alpenfire, Finnriver and Eaglemount will host open houses.
Alpenfire also will host seminars complete with a tour of the facility and an apple pressing demonstration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 220 Pocket Lane in Port Townsend.
Finnriver will offer an orchard tour, parade and live music at its Chimacum location, 124 Center Road, from noon to 8 p.m.
Eaglemount will have live music from Joy in Mudville at its location, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A full schedule is on the website at AppleandCiderFest.com.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]