Kids can make their own apple bird feeders at the Gravenstein Apple Fair.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair Celebrates 46 Years

Carey Sweet
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When the 46th annual Gravenstein Apple Fair comes around August 17 and 18, 2019 in Sebastopol, visitors will celebrate a delicious combination of tradition, and new celebrations. As always, there will be delicious local food and drink presented by the chefs and farmers who produce the fine fare, live music, and hand-made crafts and artwork. But new this year will be the Farmers Guild's Agrarian Games, which include silly joy like Chicken Poop Bingo and Squash Bowling.

Photo of Ilama at the Gravenstein Apple Fair.

Plus, Peter Coyote, the celebrated actor, author, activist and Zen Buddhist priest, is hosting a Jam Making demonstration at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Sebastopol resident is a passionate Jamming Jelly artist, using goodies from his garden and fruit tree orchard.

At its heart, The Gravenstein Apple Fair is an annual fundraiser for Sonoma County Farm Trails, a non-profit organization with a mission to instill an appreciation for agriculture and help preserve it in Sonoma County.  The event at Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Regional Park lets you learn about the land and hard work that sustains the region’s spectacular produce, meats, dairy, wines, beers, and so much more that grace our bountiful tables. Two of the fair’s best-kept secrets are the Farmer’s Panels held on the Life on the Farm stage, and the back-to-back “how-to” demonstrations in the Do-It-Yourself Arena.

Image of family standing behind apples

Farmer’s Panels, moderated by author, food authority, and radio personality Clark Wolf, delve deeply into the world of the farmer. This year the panels feature topics like Native Foodways: Indigenous Foods and Farming; Keeping Backyard Goats; and Sheep Shearing (Saturday afternoon), and Women in Farming; Living with Llamas; and Chicken Keeping (Sunday afternoon).   

In the Do-It-Yourself Arena, you will learn how to make soap, bitters, hard cider or cyser (apple mead), grow mushrooms at home, use natural dyes, build an earthen oven in your backyard.

Image of kids enjoying pie eating contest.

In between, there is plenty of great food to keep folks fueled. You can relax under the oak trees at bucolic park, with dishes and drinks starring the glorious Gravenstein apples. Enjoy them fresh, squeezed into juice, fermented into hard cider, baked into pies, covered in caramel, and – this is a huge fan favorite - battered and fried up into Grandma’s Apple Fritters.

Image of Grandma’s Apple Fritters food station

For those who have never played Chicken Poop Bingo (or cow poop bingo), meanwhile, the rules are simple. Basically, it involves chickens, chicken feed, and what chickens do after they eat. You purchase a number on a horizontal bingo board, the chickens are released on the board, and if the chicken eliminates on your ticket’s number, you win.

This year’s other games are great, too, like apple juggling, grape tosses, watermelon seed spitting, a pie eating contest, and potato sack racing.

For a full schedule, more details, and to purchase tickets, visit www.gravensteinapplefair.com