Apple Day – Tobias Fretwell

The review – apple day

By Toby Fretwell

Apples, the beloved food of… well just about everyone. Most people enjoy a nice apple reasonably often, if not daily, yet not so often does anybody stop to appreciate this most hallowed of all fruits. Every autumn the apple harvest rolls around and with it comes a little known holiday, known as apple day. Apple day is celebrated around the U.K. in many different places in October, typically around 21st of October, or the nearest weekend to this date. One could say apples are a CORE British value. Apple day was devised in 1990 in London, and given October the 21st as its official date, however it was widely practiced previously but without such high significance. The apple is seen as special because it symbolises of the physical, cultural and genetic diversity we should not let slip away.

Whilst this glorious celebration of this national holiday is widespread in the U.K., the fayre in question is the Cumbrian apple day celebrations held in Acorn Bank near Penrith. This particular festival is a rather large event which houses a large amount of different stalls. The plethora of stalls, sell and incorporate activities from smithery, clay work and woodcraft, to cider, apple tasting and juice pressing. Not only are the stalls all encompassing, but there is an eclectic mix of people from; white middle class, middle aged people to, white middle class, middle aged people pretending to be hippies.

One of the major positives about apple day is the food. At apple day there is a whole host of foodstuffs available to purchase, many of these are heavily apple themed, ranging from apple and pork burgers and sausages, to milkshakes and pancakes, the latter are apparently especially tasty. Obviously the apple based stalls are stacked around the house like apples in a bucket. As well as stalls simply selling apples, some provide apple tasting, cider tasting and purchasing, and (especially delicious) apple juice. One activity which stands out from the day is the apple bowling which consists of a long alley of wooden boards, with a pot at the end and a basket of apples at t’other. The aim of the game: hit the pot with the apple, between you and the target, 10 or so meters of uneven boards, a deceivingly difficult task, however there are some allowances for particularly young bowlers.

Most years there is a heavy musical presence at the jollification, with a small musical tent offering some reasonably traditional music played on violins and flutes, there are frequently a few people with an acoustic guitar and a voice, and a band of Morris dancers, let’s face it who doesn’t want to spent time watching people with bells on their ankles endlessly preparing for an ominously large sneeze?

However, there are a few downsides to apple day, it’s a long way out of the way if you live in Brampton, however the roads are nice so it could be seen as a good day out, especially for families. Given a good deal of the produce is a good deal pricier than would be preferable.  Another downside is the fact that whilst there is a big variety of things there, some of the people are a little strange and mildly pompous and rude, and certain groups of people, i.e. some teens can find it slightly boring, however I personally and a certain partner Adam Gallagher, found it was exceedingly good and would whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who asked.


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