This weekend: pies, cider, giant leaves and a special announcement at Applefest

Candy apples, apple pies, smoked apple salts, apple fruit leather, apple rings, apple jam, apple jelly, apple tart, apple crisp, fresh apples, apple information, apple cider press, apple, apple, Applefest!

Got apples? Bring them to applefest and put them through the apple juice press. Applefest will have some apples this year, but unfortunately not very many for the juice press, as there has been a shortage of fall harvest apples (the summer-ripening varieties did well, but all across the island, the fall pie and cider apples have been in short supply.) Still, we managed to get some local and heritage apples, which will be featured for sale, tasting, as well as in a wide array of apple-themed products, from smoked apple salt to apple pies.

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The annual pie-making contest is on, with the winner receiving $100 and bragging rights for a year. Please bring your apple pies to Applefest between 11 and 11:30 a.m. so it can be ready for judging. There is no cost to enter. One of the special judges this year is part of the Davies family who originally planted Davies orchard in 1887!

The Bowen Island Heritage Preservation Association is a small group of local volunteers who believe in the importance of preserving, celebrating and educating our past, with a special focus on the Davies Orchard cottages and apple and fruit trees. Nestled in Davies Orchard, which is situated in Metro Vancouver’s Crippen Park, BIHPA has been working to preserve the cottages, agricultural heritage and space of Davies Orchard for more than thirty years. 

In the past year BIHPA has received a Knick Knack Nook grant thanks to the Community Foundation and set about running a series of special events as well as keeping the annual traditions running, such as the beloved Applefest. 

Due to a volunteer shortage, as well as an apple shortage this year, we are trying a few new things as well as trying to keep the old favourites.

What is new this year? Applefest is on the Saturday before the Thanksgiving weekend this year, October 5, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., in Davies Orchard in Crippen Park, in Snug Cove, down Cottage Lane, in behind the Tuscany restaurant. 

Bowen Cider House at Meadowbrook Corner is creating a display of specialty heritage cider apples for Applefest. Christine Hardie is working on continuing the Riley Orchard and will be setting up a display. Ian Kennard and Nancy Leonard will have Bowen honey for sale as well as pollinator information and news about the next bee keeping course.

The BAA Farmers’ Market will be at the market with jams, fruit leather, baked goods, fresh, locally grown produce and much more. Metro Parks interpreters will have a special children’s activity tent. The Museum Cottage 10 and Rocking Horse Tea House cottages will be open. Face painting music, and more will be part of this free, fun, family-friendly event. 

Youth are invited to bring the biggest big leaf maple leaves that they can find to be measured and see who has found the biggest Bowen Island maple leaf this year. This event is based on an event in 1932, when the world’s largest maple leaf was found on Bowen Island (Vancouver Museum). The search was revived last year with amazing results. The Bigleaf maple has the largest leaves of any North American maple tree, with the leaves ranging from four to 10 inches (10 to 25 cm) across. The official Guinness Book of Records title for largest maple leaf is held by Vikas Tanwar and family in Richmond. In December 2010, they found a maple leaf that measured 53 cm wide and 52.2 cm long, but unofficially the biggest Maple leaf was found in Victoria, in November 2014, by Marilyn deHaan that was 60.9 cm wide and 72 cm long.

Hans Behm will be running the maple leaf contest as well as making an announcement about the theme of the BIHPA 2020’s displays and activities.

Everyone in the community is invited to wear old fashioned or farm clothes to Applefest. 

Youth buskers and other volunteers are still needed so please email shaxby@hotmail.com and put APPLE in the subject line to get involved and be part of this important island tradition.

Please note: the Farmers Market at BICS moves down to Applefest Oct 5, and then will return to BICS for the last market on the Thanksgiving Saturday Oct 12, which is also being called pie day.

Celebrating 100th anniversary of Union Steamship Company

Among the highlights of this year’s Applefest will be the official kick-off  at noon to the  preparations  for next year’s 100 year anniversary of the Union Steamship Company’s Bowen resort, which flourished between the 1920s and 1940s. In 1946, the Union’s steamships brought 101,000 visitors to the “Happy Isle,” while Vancouver had only 365,000 inhabitants. 

For more than 30 years it was the largest and most sought after seaside resort in Western Canada and the Davies Orchard is the last vestige of those splendid days gone by. 

The festivities will begin on Canada Day 2020 and conclude with BowFest August 29, 2020. A variety of activities invoking the past will be included in the two month’s long program, perhaps even a visit of the last surviving Union Steamship vessel, the venerable “Lady Rose.”

Because of the extra ordinary importance of this anniversary celebration representatives of the Vancouver Maritime Museum,  with whom BIHPA and the Bowen Island Museum and Archives will partner, are invited to the announcement as are Bowen’s Council members, representatives of Metro Parks, of Heritage B.C. , Heritage Canada and the Provincial Maritime Museum  and representatives of the Sechelt Historical Society, where the USSC had a strong presence, as well. The owner of the “Lady Rose” will also attend. Various media will be invited.

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