Dan O’Connell

Pies, cider and catapults thrown into mix in Metchosin

Annual festival invites visitors to experience everything apple

With the heady scent of apples in the air, the sticky sweetness of freshly extracted honey and the whiz of apples flung from a six-foot-tall wooden trebuchet, this Sunday’s (Oct. 5) Metchosin Apple Festival has something for everyone.

“It’s a great time, and people are always taken aback that we give so much away for free,” says Derek Wulff, co-organizer of the event. “We have free taste testing for cider (and) applesauce and you can taste test different kinds of heritage apples.”

And for slightly more than free at a few dollars, apple enthusiasts can make their own apple pies, try their hand at crafting a honey-based facial scrub or blend a beeswax body balm.

“It is a fundraiser for the Metchosin Foundation,” Wulff says.

“But it’s not about making money. It’s about empowering people to do things for themselves, so that they’ll think ‘maybe I’ll get some local apples and make my own applesauce or juice.’ The premise is it gets people empowered to get involved in the making of stuff.”

Wulff, who started the festival with fellow apple lovers Dan O’Connell and Jennifer Burgis, says this year is abuzz with the addition of local bees and honey to the exhibits.

“I’m an apple and bee enthusiast. Nobody does an apple and bee festival, and the bees pollinate the trees,” he says. “Honey and bees are often at fall fairs, but often the only involvement is in judging. I thought it would be more interesting for people to actually make products with honey and beeswax.”

A toy designer as well, Wulff will have a variety of table-top catapults and the trebuchet set up ready to hurl apples and other ammunition, to the delight of younger visitors.

“It’s good fun for the kids and they learn about how you store energy in bent wood. It’s very kinetic. And there’s nothing wrong with kids shooting things and chasing them,” he says with a laugh.

Anne Aylard will be running an apple identification booth for those mysterious strains growing in back yards and forgotten fields, Wulff will have information on grafting and beekeepers will be standing ready to answer any and all apiculture questions.

To cap the afternoon, visitors can lounge and enjoy an ‘apple baked tea’ with all sorts of delectable goodies while being serenaded by local singer Sophia Higgins.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Metchosin Community House, 4430 Happy Valley Rd.

For more information, call 250-478-5155 or email mcahouse@telus.net.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com