Bayfield Farmers Reflect on Cancellation of Apple Fest

"It's all the orchards together that makes Apple Fest what it is. It's not just one orchard or one property."

BAYFIELD, Wisc. – “Apple Fest is a lot of work and its the most fun I’ve ever had,” Bayfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, David Eades says.

But because of Covid-19, the lack of Bayfield’s largest event will leave hole in the heart of city.

“The energy. The community. The food vendors, the orchards, the parade the contests. There’s something for everybody and it’s been going on for 60 years and it’s rated in the top ten fall festivals in the Midwest for a reason,” Eades says.

Now, orchards in the area must ditch their annual routines and plan differently for the fall harvest.

“You know how many pies you’re going to make because you usually sell about the same amount. You know how many apples to prepare and package to take downtown and sell. It’s always kind of a logistical issue to get everything ready. But this year, you don’t know,” Superior View Farms Owner, Jim Hauser says.

Although some farmers will still have their booths downtown, other orchards have broke away from that atmosphere in recent years.

“We brought the party here,” Erickson Orchards Owner, Fred Erickson says.

Meaning farmers must get creative with social distancing, as they anticipate people still making the hike to Bayfield in early October.

“The Apple Fest may be closed, cancelled this year. But the farms are not. I can’t do that,” Erickson says.

Fred Erickson of Erickson Orchards is now 8 years into running the show.

“My father finally retired at 82.”

With this years cancellation, he envisions Apple Fest going back to its roots.

“There’s nothing bad about that going back a few decades and experiencing what they experienced when the first applefest started. That’s coming to the farm,” Erickson says.

Now they are planting the seeds for an even better year in 2021.

“It’s all the orchards together that makes Apple Fest what it is. It’s not just one orchard or one property,” Hauser says.

“We all work together. We all work hard. It’s not a me thing here in our small community. It’s us,” Erickson says.

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