The temperatures are dropping, the trees are turning color, and all the delicious late summer/early fall produce is arriving at the Inn’s back door on an almost daily basis. That can only mean one thing: it’s almost time for the 49th annual Bayfield Apple Festival!
Now there are a LOT of Apple Festivals out there (at least 40 in the U.S.) but here in Bayfield, we think ours is the best! Every year, an average of 60,000 people fill this tiny town of 600. Every hotel in a hundred mile radius is filled, and the streets are literally packed with people, food booths, musicians, arts and crafts, and that intangible “festival air.” Apparently, Wisconsin Trails magazine agrees with our assessment, naming the Bayfield Apple Festival Wisconsin’s “Best” festival.
Bayfield is home to about 16 orchards and berry farms. Most are family businesses that have passed through several generations. At apple fest, their very finest produce is available both in town and at the orchards themselves. In addition to bags of Honeycrisp, Cortland, Macintosh and all the other varieties, you’ll find apples prepared every which way: caramel apples, fritters, doughnuts, pies, brats, ciders, etc.
You’ll also find great music at applefest. Big Top Chautauqua’s Blue Canvas Orchestra plays during the days on the main stage on Rittenhouse Avenue, performing songs from their vast repertoire of tunes about the area’s history and natural beauty. Most of the local pubs feature rock and dance bands throughout the weekend. Many consider Saturday night’s Fireman’s Dance at the Bayfield Pavillion to be a highlight of the weekend as local hero Corey Carlson takes the stage with Fido and the Lovedogs.
Sunday’s parade is one of the states longest and most impressive. Everyone loves the “mass band” that closes the parade, and one of the favorite spots to watch the festivities is right here on the lawn of the Rittenhouse Inn! As usual, we’ll be serving delicious brats and caramel apple creme puffs, as well as South Shore Brewery’s Applefest Ale on tap and some delicious spiced apple cider (with or without a shot of top shelf bourbon!)
Parking can be difficult to find… we offer two solutions (both on Manypenny Ave.) The first is directly downtown, by the Bodin’s fishery. The second is on the corner of Manypenny and 8th, where a large lot can accommodate even the biggest trucks and RVs, along with everyone else. Parking is usually between $5 and $10, not bad if you’re from the city!
In the old days, when Applefest ended, Bayfield pretty much “closed up” for the season. Nowadays there are many hotels, shops, restaurants, and orchards that stay open well into the winter. At the Rittenhouse, we are open all year and ready to welcome you anytime.
If you’re thinking of visiting Apple fest this year, call now!!! Hotels fill up fast, but you might be able to find something. The Bayfield Chamber of Commerce can be very helpful in this regard. Tip: arrive Sunday morning, take in the sights, sounds and parade, and then stick around to watch the locals go wild that night! There are usually plenty of hotels available on Sunday, and some say it’s the best day of the festival.
By the way, Apple fest is always held on the FIRST full weekend of October. We are already taking bookings for 2012, so check your dates and make plans for an amazing getaway weekend in Bayfield!