DeKalb County History Center hosts Fall Festival

October 8, 2018

Alise Goodman loves apples.

The 10-year-old Sycamore resident especially loves crushing the fruit to make homemade apple cider and always is excited for the DeKalb County History Center’s annual Fall Festival, where children can make the traditional autumn beverage the old-fashioned way.

The free event was held Saturday at the history center in Sycamore, where families washed and rinsed apples, crushed them and then pressed them to make cider.

“I love it when you put the apple in [the crusher] and it squirts you,” the Cornerstone Christian Academy student said.

Alise and her mother, Terri Goodman, have been coming to make cider at the festival since Alise was a toddler. Goodman said that she loves for her daughter to see how it once was made.

“There was a lot of effort put into the original process of making cider. It was a lot of work,” she said. “But [the center] makes it so much fun for the kids. It’s hands-on and safe and very educational. I love it that they host events like this.”

The history center’s mission is to inspire curiosity, so this event falls in line with that, explained Michelle Donahoe, executive director of the DeKalb County History Center. She said that the cider-making festival is a fun tradition for many families.

“Kids can see the process of how people made cider a long time ago. They love it and it’s a great way to learn how things were done in the past,” she said. “It is a nice family activity that kids of all ages can enjoy.”

Staci Hoste of Sycamore said the event was a fun activity for a fall Saturday afternoon. Her daughter, Grace, loved washing the apples in the metal tubs.

“She’s having a lot of fun, and we’ll see if I can get her to clean at home,” Hoste said with a chuckle.

Kyla Hueber’s daughter Devon, 4, eats apples every day, and Hueber said that it was fun for Devon to learn how the fruit is used to make cider.

“We live in the neighborhood and like to come to the events here and support the center. It’s nice to be able to do something different,” she said.

Bill Mitchell has been volunteering to help the children make cider for several years. He said the museum is a good place for them to learn about the relationship between nature and the food supply.

“Kids love this, and they can get a familiarity with how apples are used to make apple cider, rather than just drinking it from a jug. Apple cider was very important to the people of the past,” he said.

Linda Van Garsse of Sycamore was with her granddaughter, Brianna Van Garsse, 12, who was helping children crush apples. Van Garsse said that Brianna has been volunteering at the history center’s events for a few years, and the two were having fun watching how excited the children were about making cider.

“This is a great event because it’s something that kids don’t get to see very often, and it gives them a taste of days gone by,” Van Garsse said.

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