Our state's signature fruit is in season! It's true we can get apples at the grocery store year-round, but the finest, freshest, most delicious bounty comes in the late summer and fall. Savor the sweet flavor of the season with cider-pressing and other apple events around Seattle, the Eastside and the South Sound. You can even eat an apple right off the tree and fill your buckets at local U-pick apple orchards.
This year, lots of events are canceled but a few are soldiering on in a pandemic-appropriate way. Read on for ideas on drinking up all that's wonderful about our amazing Washington apples.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 11 a.m.–noon; online
Sign up to join a Fort Nisqually heritage volunteer as he press Fort apples into cider. Bring your questions.
Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Fall City
Sign up in advance for a time slot to press fresh, organic apples into cider or ride a pony at this community fest. You can also drive up to buy pies and treats. Or get baking and enter the apple-pie-baking contest — there's a junior division for kid bakers ages 7–16, complete with cash prizes!
Open daily; Olympia
Lattin's typically hosts its Apple Festival during fall weekends, but even though all the regular festivities can't happen, you can still visit the farm store to buy farm-fresh apples and other produce, plus its amazing signature cider. The apple fritters are also all kinds of amazing. Check Facebook for current offerings.
Saturday–Sunday, Sept. 26–27, 2020, noon–4 p.m.; Tacoma and Gig Harbor
The cider at this fest is for grown-ups, though in a typical year there's a drop-off kid zone where kids can play while adults sample the cider. (Def. bookmark that for next year!) This year, sign up to pick up a cider-tasting kit for the adults. There will also be food truck fare on offer, and kids can partake in that.
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; Steilacoom
Yet another event falls victim to the pandemic, but organizers of the Steilacoom Apple Squeeze are determined to reinvent this tradition, planning to offer cider and other apple treats for sale in a COVID-safe manner. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for additional details.
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Puyallup
Organizers are working on a drive-up, pandemic-friendly version of the annual cider squeeze at this lovely historic mansion. Save the date and check for more details about driving up to buy cider and check out some historic displays.
Open daily; Seattle
Visit Seattle's oldest orchard — inside what is now Carkeek Park. In a typical year, there's a Festival of Fruit. Not this year, unfortunately, but you can still wander down the path from Carkeek's McAbee entrance (Northwest 100th Place and 6th Avenue Northwest, behind the QFC on Holman Road) and take a gander at apple trees that are over 130 years old! (But don't pick the apples, please.)
Continue down the path to play on the beach or to spot spawning salmon in Piper's Creek (best luck in November). Save some energy as it's quite a climb to get back to the top of the trail!
Bonus: Rent a cider press
Want to make your own cider at home? Pick apples from your backyard, ask your neighbors or visit one of the orchards in our apple-picking guide — and then rent Fox in the Forest school's cider press. This Bothell-based school owns its own Weston Press, which it rents out to families for a few days at a time ($55). Find contact information at the website and call or email for details.
Editor's note: We compile this list of apple events every year, and if you've seen it before, you know there are usually more. Cross your fingers (and wear your masks!) that the full range of apple and cider events for families is back in 2021!