An Apple a Day -- This Weekend at Wachusett
PRINCETON -- Celebrate everything fall -- and apple -- this weekend at Wachusett Mountain’s 35th annual AppleFest.
More than 100 craft exhibitors will be on hand, as well as a farmers’ market, family entertainment and an opportunity to experience peak fall foliage from the SkyRide.
“When it started, we didn’t know what to call it because it’s a bunch of different types of fairs combined into one thing,” said Tom Meyers, director of marketing at Wachusett Mountain. “It’s a craft fair, farmers’ market, fall festival -- all these different things. So we came up with the name AppleFest to give a nice ring to it.”
The festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. from 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Wachusett.com or at the venue. If you want free entry, though, Meyers said to show up with your best apple pie for the 10th annual Great New England Apple Pie Contest.
The amateur-only contest was created in partnership with the Red Apple Farm and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for any home bakers who want to show off their special apple-pie recipes. Just show up to the door with your apple pie for the contest and receive two free admission tickets.
“The judges have a very hard job to sit there and eat 50-something pies,” Meyers said with a laugh.
Winners will receive prizes provided by WSRS radio, along with the admiration of fellow bakers. All submissions have to be registered by 11 a.m.
AppleFest’s theme this year is focused on everything Irish, so there will be plenty of seasonal ales to accompany Irish food, Celtic music and Irish dancers.
It is also perfect for those who want to get a jump-start on some holiday shopping. Between the craft fair and farmers’ market, about 150 local vendors and crafters will showcase their goods.
“This is the one festival that has a little bit of something for everybody,” Meyers said. “We’ve got the Celtic celebration with seasonal ales, shopping, games, the SkyRide to go up and see the foliage, and a couple of shows going on for the kids to watch.”
The mountain’s Coppertop Lounge inside the lodge will have music and comedy along with samples from Gosling’s Old Reserve Rum.
In its 35th year, AppleFest has a long history at Wachusett Mountain.
“It really was one of the first fall festivals in Central Massachusetts,” Meyers said. “Being one of the original festivals, when you think about how it’s been going for 35 years. It’s really amazing.”
The event used to be spread out over two weeks due to its popularity. A few years ago, Meyers said the second weekend was changed to be its own event -- Oktoberfest.
“It’s a similar event to AppleFest that has a German theme, so there will be German music, German food, but it still has crafters,” he said.
After Oktoberfest on Oct. 20 and 21, the mountain will host the third annual Food Truck Festival. The three straight weekends of festivals is a perfect way to enjoy fall festivities before ski season kicks off.
“We love to have people come up in the fall to come enjoy the festivals, buy ski passes or shop,” Meyers said. “It gets them revved up for the winter season.”
Tickets purchased in advance for AppleFest cost $11 for adults and $6 for ages 6 to 12. A festival package for both days is $19 for adults and $12 for ages 6 to 12. At the door, tickets for adults cost $14 and ages 6 to 12 $9. All children 5 and under get free admission.
Advance tickets are available online at Wachusett.com until midnight Friday. To get admission to all remaining festivals, you can purchase a festival season pass for $50. Visit Wachusett.com .
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The Winchendon History and Cultural Center presents a casino night with Halloween flair Saturday, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at The Murdock Whitney House, 151 Spring St. Wear formal attire, a costume or your usual attire and a mask to the center’s annual casino event. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at winchendonhistory.com .
Craft and Food Festival
Bolton Orchards at 125 Still River Road will hold its annual craft and food festival this weekend. The craft festival is Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the food festival follows on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. See what creative things you can find, or enjoy free samples, fresh cider doughnuts, and plenty of apples and yummy treats. For more information, call 978-779-2733.
Enjoy a 2-mile, slow and easy, guided and historically narrated tour of the Rock Walk trail from the Rollstone Boulder in the Upper Common to the original site of the Boulder on the summit of Rollstone Hill in Fitchburg. Meet at the Boulder Art Gallery, 960 Main St., on Saturday, at 10 a.m. The walk starts and ends there. The event is free. Bring comfortable shoes, water, camera and a friend.