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What You Need to Know About The Gravenstein Apple Fair

The “Sweetest Little Fair in the County” — AKA the 45th annual Gravenstein Apple Fair — comes to Sebastopol the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12, 2018. The fair is sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Trails, whose members are local family farms and agricultural/artisinal producers.

If you’re a newcomer or visitor to Sonoma County, you’re probably wondering why a decades-long event would center around a specific variety of apple. Well, the Gravenstein isn’t just any apple. It has a formidable past and once formed an entire Sonoma County industry unto itself. For details, read Gravenstein Apples – Sonoma County’s Other World-Famous Crop.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair celebrates this special fruit. Here’s the low-down on what to expect:

Food

There's always a line for Grandma's Apple Fritters (they are worth the wait), and many vendors will be selling their own homemade apple pies. (Of course, you'll need to taste several to find your favorite.) Be sure to try the caramel apples with goat's milk cajeta by Rocker Oysterfeller's Kitchen + Saloon. And don't forget the apple pie baking contest sponsored by the City of Sebastopol.

You can  buy fresh Gravenstein apples direct from local apple farms, and local farmers will also be offering their artisan olive oils, jams, honeys, sauces, and more. And there's always an array of fabulous food vendors with a wide variety of goodies, from fried chicken sandwiches, barbecued turkey legs, and burgers, to Greek, Indian, Asian, and other cuisines.

In the popular Artisan Tasting Lounge ($20 in addition to fair admission), enjoy a peaceful lounge atmosphere in the heart of the fair while sampling cider and cheese pairings, restaurant bites, wine, specialty cocktails, and more. 

And in the DIY (Do It Yourself) Arena, join cheesemakers, chefs, and local experts as they demonstrate techiniques you can do at home. 

Drink

North Coast Organic Apple Products is always on hand selling glasses of its delicious organic apple juice (as well as jars of its apple sauce and apple cider vinegar), and families can join the Slow Food Russian River group to press their own apple juice.

The Craft Cider Tent (curated by local cider expert Darlene Hayes) features more than a dozen local craft ciders made with local apples; the Wine Tent showcases more than two dozen exceptional Sonoma County wines; and the Microbrew Tent higlights some of Sonoma County's best breweries.

Musical Entertainment

Music is always a big part of the Apple Fair, and this year's live music schedule is no exception. Two widely-separated stages (Farm Trails Stage and Gravenstein Stage) will present entertainment on the hour and half hour. More than a dozen groups and about as many musical genres are bound to get fair-goers singing and dancing.

Games and Contests

Spread across both days are such crowd-pleasers as a pie eating contest, apple pie baking contest, caramel apple eating contest, and an apple juggling contest.

Learning About Farm Life

Thinking about quitting the day job and going into farming? Learn how to work a farm and other details of farm life at Life on the Farm events . Among the happenings: demonstrations of cow milking, sheep shearing, and beekeeping, and more. 

Arts & Crafts

Browse artistic creations from dozens of artisans, including photographers, painters, ceramicists and potters, soap makers, jewelry craftspeople, fabric and leather artists, hat-makers, woodcarvers, and many more.

Fun for Kids

The Children's Corner has lots of hands-on activities lined up, along with entertainment and other activities (circus performers, puppet folk tales, and more). 

Gravenstein Fair Visitor Information

Location: Ragle Ranch Regional Park, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol.

Time: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12.

Admission:

    • $15/Adults; $12/Seniors & Veterans; $10/Children 6-12 or Adults who bicycle to the fair; Kids 5 and under are free. (No credit cards accepted at gate; checks accepted at gate.)
    • Discounted Advance Admission (available online and at local retailers, starting in June): $12/Adults; $8/Children 6-12.

Parking: On-site parking at Ragle Ranch Regional Park: $5/day (free with a Sonoma County Regional Parks pass).

Free bicycle valet parking to the right of the main fair entrance.

Free parking with shuttle buses will be available from the parking lots of O’Reilly Media at 1005 Gravenstein Highway and Holy Ghost Hall at 7960 Mill Station Road.

Questions? Call 707-837-8896 

Other Possibilities

Interested in more ways to explore food and drink in Sonoma County?

Read Biggest and Best Annual Sonoma County Festivals to learn more about:

  • Chowder Day in Bodega Bay each January
  • Cloverdale Citrus Fair in February
  • California’s Artisan Cheese Festival at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in March
  • Seafood, Art and Wine Festival in Bodega in August
  • Taste of Sonoma in Rohnert Park in September
  • Sonoma County Harvest Fair, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds each October 
  • A Wine and Food Affair in November in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys

For even more ideas, check out our articles on Sonoma Wine Country for Food Lovers 2-Day Itinerary, Sonoma Culinary Trail 3-Day Itinerary, and Vegetarian Food Adventures in West Sonoma County.

Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez

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