October 2, 2011

Apple Fest Delights in 29th Year

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Ithaca celebrated the 29th annual Apple Harvest Festival this weekend as thousands of people flocked to the Commons to ring in the fall season with candy apples, apple pie, apple donuts, apple cider and other apple fare.

The event featured products from more than a dozen farms and wineries, as well as from an array of food vendors that lined the streets alongside carnival rides, craft stands, magicians and musicians.

Apples of varying kinds were presented in a head-spinning number.

“We have your traditional golden delicious, as well as some newer ones,” said Amanda Sims grad, a member of the Students of Horticulture Organization representing Cornell Orchards at Apple Fest. The student organization sold apples grown at the Cornell Orchards.

“They’re all Cornell-bred for deliciousness and good texture,” she said.

Pakala Prasit, a representative from Taste of Thai, explained how apples inspired the creation of two new dishes: red curry with apples and apple fried rice.

“Usually, apples are not really part of Thai cuisine,” Prasit said.  “This is a creative license that the kitchen staff took … to honor this festival.”

Taste of Thai was one of many restaurants in the Commons to embrace the apple theme.  Simeon’s on the Commons sold apple slices covered in caramel and topped with whipped cream and nuts.

Other apple-themed foods included apple popcorn, apple chips and apple crisp.

Local wineries uncorked dozens of apple-based wines. Leon Hulbut, from the Finger Lakes Winery, said that he tries to use as many local products as possible.

“We take apples and wine and mix them with different fruits,” Hulbut said. “We try to use as many local products as we can. We’ve been coming here probably eight or 10 years. It’s a great crowd … We have a sweet wine, and it’s well received.”

Despite overcast weather, Matt Riis, events manager of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said this year’s turnout was a success.

“I think the main attraction down here is the food,” Riis said. “Though the music is also a draw.”

The three-day event saw more than 20 musical performances, as well as vendors selling clothing, jewelry and original artwork.

“Most of our vendors have been with us for many years,” Riis said. “I think people like that because they know what to expect.”

Many Cornell students joined Ithaca residents in the Commons for the celebration.

“It’s a good excuse to get out of the Cornell bubble,” Alyssa Browne ’12 said.  “These sorts of festivals are a really special part of Ithaca.”

Helen Reznikova ’12 added that the festival had offerings for both students and local families.

“I think it brings the community together,” Reznikova said.  “Kids come out for snacks, older people come out for music … There’s something for everyone.”

Original Author: Elizabeth Kussman