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The Morning Call: Apple Days gets people bobbing and baking in Bethlehem

September 10th, 2016 |

Written by Christy Potter for The Morning Call

The temperatures said summer but everything else felt like autumn during Historic Bethlehem’s Apple Days Saturday at Burnside Plantation.

Now in its third year, Apple Days brought young and old alike to Burnside’s grounds to explore a bit of the area’s history and to celebrate the four varieties of apples grown in the plantation’s orchard.

The event blossomed from an idea that started with the staff of Historic Bethlehem Museum and Sites, after the organization was asked if it ever does any fall events. With the annual Blueberry Festival held in July, a fall event seemed like a good idea.

“It’s a great way for people to get to see the plantation and to find out about all the things that can be done with apples,” LoriAnn Wukitsch, vice president and managing director of Historic Bethlehem Museum and Sites, said as she made the rounds from one event and display to another. “We have gotten a bigger turnout for this every year.”

While Apple Days was first just held on a Saturday, the turnout has been so good that this year’s event was expanded to Sunday as well, Wukitsch said.

This year’s event features apple-bobbing; colonial demonstrations including cooking and an apple press; square dancing; donkey-drawn wagon rides; pony rides; barn and house tours; and live music. Attendees have the chance to walk through Burnside’s orchard and learn about the heirloom apples grown there, including Rhode Island greening, Roxbury russet and Newtown Pippin. Children have the chance to pick apples right from the trees.

Three museum volunteers demonstrated apple-based cooking in the plantation’s summer house, tiny and hot with an open fire roaring. The summer house is where the home’s kitchen staff used to do the cooking during the summer to keep the heat out of the house, said Barbara Dunn, museum volunteer, as Joanne Ritter paused from making a cold apple soup to hand out dried pieces of apple, which she called “colonial fruit snacks.”

It’s all about the apples this weekend, and there were apples, apples everywhere. Children used apples sliced in half to make apple prints on T-shirts, bobbed for apples, made their own taffy apple, and listened to apple stories such as “Apples Up on Top” and “Apple Pie that Papa Baked.” Families wandered the grounds munching on apple cider doughnuts — there was even a doughnut eating contest.

“Last year we sold out of pies and dumplings,” Wukitsch said.

Despite Saturday’s warm temperatures, the baked goods were again going fast as the grounds filled with visitors.

“We came out because we thought it sounded like fun,” said 13-year-old Ryan Weitzel, who visited the plantation Saturday afternoon with his family. “My sisters all love apples, so we kind of had to come. I like apples too, but not as much as my sisters do.”

Other attractions at the event include a bee-keeper presentation, quill-pen writing, colonial games, hard-cider tasting, sack races, colonial dress-up, and baking contests.

Christy Potter is a freelance writer.

IF YOU GO

What: Apple Days

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Burnside Plantation, 1499 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem

Cost: $5 per vehicle

What else: Supports Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites.

Foods: Apple doughnuts, pies, dumplings, fritters and cider.

Information: historicbethlehem.org/events/apple-days

 

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