CiderFest offers a wide array of activities


Islanders will have the opportunity to celebrate autumn and its bounty when several Vashon groups come together to host the third annual CiderFest this Saturday.

The festival will include events all day at the Village Green and throughout the afternoon and into the night at Misty Isle Farms.

“We want it to become the premiere Vashon fall event,” said Carolyn Amick, one of the event organizers. “I hope everyone goes.”

With roughly a dozen separate events, ranging from hard cider tasting to a fruit show to a chicken beauty contest, the day includes activities for all ages and those with a multitude of interests.

The event has grown considerably in its three years, when it started as a simple cider tasting on the Village Green. Now a host of organizations that held fall events have come together to raise money for good causes and celebrate the community.

Vashon Island Rotary is the sponsor of the goings-on at Misty Isle Farms, owned by the late Tom Stewart, where events will be held in his large barn. When Stewart lived on the Island, he displayed his carriages and classic cars there.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Rex Stratton, one the organizers. Tents will be set up for “extra breathing room,” and throughout the day, festival-goers can wander through Stewart’s considerable gardens. Events there will include cider seminars, cider tasting, barbecue chicken dinner, a barn dance and a day-long silent auction, complete with a chance to bid on a week-long stay at Pascal Py’s home in Provence, France.

Though every event is expected to be a good time, several organizers point to the Satuday night dance as a highlight of CiderFest.

“It was just a ton of fun last year,” said Jan Milligan, the president of Rotary

Stratton said he had expected mostly Rotarians to attend the first barn dance, held last year, but instead a cross-section of the Island came — gay, straight, young, old — all to kick up their heels in an old-fashioned square dance. This year the same caller will be back, and Poultry in Motion will provide the dancing tunes. Some instruction will be provided.

“Absolute novices are encouraged to attend,” said Gib Dammann, another organizer.

At the Village Green, the Vashon Island Growers Association, Vashon Youth & Family Services, Vashon Fruit Club and the Vashon Park District will all have a presence. The farmers market will be open; the fruit club will host its annual fruit show with fresh-pressed cider and apple crisp for sale and several fruit varieties to sample. Kids can participate in a pet show and trot out their prettiest chickens in the park district’s annual chicken beauty contest. There will also be music and information on community resources for families with young children.

All the events in the Village Green are free, according to Milligan, but events at Misty Isle Farms are a fundraiser for Rotary’s fund for college scholarships for Vashon teens. Their goal is to raise $6,000, Milligan said, and if more money is raised, they will put it toward other educational programs.

Rotary’s goal is not just about money, Milligan noted, but also about enhancing the community, and after months of planning, organizers hope to see a good crowd at both venues.

“A good showing at CiderFest is good for the community as a whole,” said Amick.

Misty Isle Farms


1 to 1:50 p.m. How to Taste Ciders. Ron Irvine leads session on cider tasting. Tickets, $10, will be available at the door.

2 to 2:50 p.m. Making Cider. Vashon’s Doug Tuma and Mount Vernon’s Drew Zimmerman will exchange ideas on home and commercial cider-making. Free.

3 to 3:50 p.m. Planting Your Cider Orchard. Bob Norton will instruct in apple planting, soil amendments. Free.

Hard Cider Tasting

4 to 7 p.m. Several hard cider makers will present their finest work. Tickets are $25. Participants must be 21 and older.

Barbecue Chicken Dinner

5 to 8 p.m. Rotarians will cook a dinner with all the fixings. Tickets are $12.

Barn Dance

6 to 10 p.m. Poultry in Motion will play, and a caller will lead and instruct. Tickets are $12 for adults, free for kids 12 and under.

Advance tickets to the events at Misty Isle Farms are recommended. Purchase them online at or at Books by the Way, Essentials 4 or from any Rotary member.

Village Green

Farmers Market

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fall harvest is in full swing.

Vashon Island Fruit Club Fruit Show

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy fresh-pressed cider and apple crisp. Learn about pest management and fruit identification. A lucky raffle winner will take home a steel cider press donated by Islander Bob Powell.

Chick-Me-Out Chicken Beauty Contest

10 a.m. Bring your pretty chickens in a cage. Community voting goes until 11:30 a.m., when the winner will be announced.

Chick-Me-Out Pet Show

2 to 3 p.m. Categories include presentation, behavior, grooming, costume, trick, hat, funniest and the pet who looks most like its handler. No advance registration needed

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