BC’s Best Apple Festivals

There's nothing like a slice of mouthwatering homemade apple pie on a crisp autumn day. Join the applelicious fun at one or more of these exciting festivals! 

Apple pie. Apple cider. Apple juice. Apple sauce. Is your mouth watering yet? Here are the best apple festivals around British Columbia

Everyone knows an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but as festivals across B.C. show, this fruit is a lot more than just a nutritious snack.

Drawing enthusiastic crowds eager to learn more about this fruit and enjoy its delicious taste in all its forms, these apple fests are the perfect place to celebrate the harvest.

One favourite – the Salt Spring Apple Festival– is unfortunately cancelledthis year, but regular attendees needn’t worry – B.C. has many other great apple festivals, and we've compiled the best.

In addition to some staples – apple sampling, displays and cider-press demos, experts, apple products, family-friendly activities – each festival has something special to offer. How do you like them apples?

Vernon’s September Apple Harvest Fest

Hop on the Johnny Popper Apple Train for a guided tour of the Davison orchard, and after you’ve learned about growing and picking apples, put your knowledge to the test by picking 10 pounds worth of your own apples to bring home.

On Saturday September 29, stop by to learn some apple science – like the process of developing new apple varieties – from Ken Haddrell and researcher Cheryl Hampson, and see some demos.

The cherry on top will be the edibles: from house made caramel apples to fresh apple juice, pies, apple butter, apple salsa, apple syrup, and more. If it has apples in it, Davison Orchards sells it! Sample for free and purchase your favourites. Along with apple picking, kids will enjoy activities like the scavenger hunt, so bring the whole family!

When: September every weekend for apple sampling and train ride/pick-your-own-apples. September 22/23 and 29/30 2012 for everything else; 10 am to 4 pm each day.
Where: 3111 Davison road, Davison Orchards, Vernon
Cost: Free admission and samples. Johnny Popper Apple Train ride Orchard tour is $4 for children, $6 for adults. Or $10 including pick-your-own-apples.

Bowen Island Heritage Apple Fest

Take in the rich history of the Davies Orchard, established in the 1800s, while enjoying the perks of fall.

Sip on hot, fresh-pressed apple cider, sample delicious heritage apples, take advantage of the orchard’s award-winning heritage walking tour, and pick up an apple pie just in time for thanksgiving!

Kids will keep entertained with games, and you can test your knack for baking by entering the apple pie contest, and maybe even top off the day with a win!

When: October 7, 2012; 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Crippen Regional Park, Davies Orchard, Bowen Island
Cost: Free. Cost for apple pies.

Sea Cider Apple Day

For a different way to enjoy apples, sip on some cider at Sea Cider Farm. The orchard grows over 60 varieties of certified organic apples and uses traditional artisan methods to produce the (alcoholic) cider, and their talent is at the forefront on apple day.

Open-house style, you go booth to booth trying different ciders – there’s sparkling apple juice for the kids – and tasting delicious food while enjoying live music and the beautiful view overlooking the orchard and ocean.

Take a tour of the orchard, then pick up some of the final product. If you’re a hard cider fan, look no further!

When: Sunday September 30, 2012. 11 am to 4 pm.
Where: 2487 St. Michael Rd Mount, Sea Cider Farm, Saanichton, Vancouver Island
Cost: Free admission, including first cider sample. $2 for subsequent cider samples, and $2/food ticket (food stations require 1, 2, or 3 tickets).

Keremeos Grist Mill Apple Day

The highlight of this old-fashioned mill’s apple day is definitely the apple pie baking contest, which awards a prize to the winner and slices to attendees, with proceeds going towards preserving the old mill.

That’s not the only thing happening at the annual apple day, though. There’s live music, a barbecue, free apple sampling, and a demo using their antique apple-press. Come out, have a great time, and support the Mill’s old-style techniques.

When: Sunday, October 7, 2012; 10 am to 2 pm.
Cost: $6 for adults; $5 for students and seniors. BBQ lunch and pie cost extra.
Where: 2691 Upper Bench Road, Keremeos Grist Mill, Keremeos.

Derby Reach Heritage Apple Day

This charmingly small and quaint festival will take you back more than a century, inhabiting the oldest settler agricultural site in southwestern B.C.

Take a guided tour of the Heritage Orchard, get expert advice on apple trees, and have some fun: enjoy live fiddlers, admire plein air apple painting, play apple tic-tac-toe, and try your hand at apple peeling – the challenge is to see how long you a peel you can make.

Satisfy your taste buds with samples of various heritage apples, along with some free coffee, hot chocolate, and timbits courtesy of Tim Hortons.

When: September 29, 2012; 11 am to 2 pm.
Where: Allard Crescent, Heritage area in Derby Reach Regional Park, Langley
Cost: Free admission, coffee and timbits. Apple trees purchased via cash or cheque. $12 for an apple pie.

UBC Botanical Garden Apple Festival

This extravaganza attracts thousands to the beautiful UBC Botanical Garden annually.

See for yourself why UBC is the big man on the apple festival campus: sample up to 60 varieties of apples and choose between over 70 types of new and heritage apples (some organic) and over 100 apple tree varieties to buy.

Learn about apples from the BC Fruit Testers and Master Gardeners and catch the naming ceremony of the popular SPA 493 apple on Saturday.

There are also family-friendly live musical performances, children’s activities, and apple treats (like apple chips!) that the whole family will enjoy.

When: October 13-14, 2012; 11 am to 4 pm
Where: 6804 SW Marine Drive, UBC Botanical Garden, Vancouver
Cost: $4. Cash only. Free for children under 12. Proceeds go to the UBC Botanical Garden. Apple sampling is $5.