Apple Fest expected to attract 60,000 visitors - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Apple Fest expected to attract 60,000 visitors

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For the past 56 years, Apple Festival has brought tens of thousands to Bayfield based on one simple idea: bringing the people to the apples.

Bayfield Chamber of Commerce marketing and events manager, Kelly Linehan, said the tradition started by accident with an Erickson's Orchard delivery to North Dakota.

"He was passing through the Duluth area and he happened to get a flat tire," she said. "So while he was waiting on the side of the road, there were many people stopping, asking him where the apples were from, so he ended up selling many bushels of apples out of the back of his truck."

She said Erickson came back to Duluth with an idea. From there, the farmers and Bayfield chamber began work to attract visitors to the orchards... and decades later, his son, Fred Erickson, is gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year: Apple Festival.

"We're pressing apple cider for the day, we're probably gonna hit about 1100 gallons for today, which takes about close to 400 bushels, 40 pound bushels of apples," he said.

Erickson said, this coming weekend, he's expecting to sell between 2,000 and 2,500 gallons of apple cider--just a fraction of the $8 to $10 million the Bayfield Chamber expects to come into region as tourists learn how it's all made.

"It's just a nice time for families to come out here and enjoy the orchard, walk the orchard, go out and just enjoy what God's given us," Erickson said.

And with an estimated 60,000 people headed to town, orchards like Erickson's have plenty of apples to press.

"You have to love this job," he said. "It's a lot of work."

Bayfield Apple Festival kicks off this Friday Oct. 6 and lasts until Sunday Oct. 8.

The chamber suggests to beat the crowds you should try to pick your apples on Friday.

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