Remember last week when I was all, "I don't care that it's still 90 degrees out and that it's not really fall! It's fall! I want to go apple picking!! Whooohooo!"? And all that? And I ended up picking strawberries instead? Yeah, me, too.
Well, I thought I was going to get a little bit luckier this weekend. A friend emailed me a link to a Fall Apple Festival in the East Bay. Apple festival!!!! Apples! A whole festival about apples! Yay!
Apparently, to hold an apple festival, you really only need to set up a couple of card tables, have one old-timey apple press for making apple juice and a few long tables with an assortment of apple slices for tasting. I feel like "festival" was too strong of a word; maybe a "here's one thing you can do with apples" demonstration would have been more appropriate marketing. No apples for sale, no apple-y treats (aside from the dixie cup of apple juice each kid got at the apple press), no apple trees, even--I know there were orchards on the grounds somewhere, but even a walk beyond the "festival" boundaries did not reveal them (although it did reveal a scurrying gopher or two).
We had fun, but not really in an APPLEFESTIVAL!!!! kind of way. Sigh. Maybe next weekend?
These apples were the only ones we could find, on trees, in the whole place. And they're in the parking lot, surrounded by chicken wire. Friendly!
The theme of the day (which surprisingly wasn't really "apples!") was "old timey"--Ethan played with a bevy of old fashioned toys, the likes of which my cousins and I would have found as children, in our parents old childhood toy boxes, if such a thing existed. Old hand-painted spin-y tops, clippity-clop wooden horses and chinese checkers boards were set up for kids to play with.
This is the expression I get these days when I ask for a smile. It looks more like a "I just slammed my finger in a door and in about 5 seconds will be screaming bloody murder" face than a smile, but whatever. Get used to it.
There was supposed to be ice creaming making, where the kids could help out with the churning and what not. But when we got there, the ice cream was already made. So...
...Ethan ate his thimble full of ice cream and mini-cone (hidden by the pink napkin). A couple of times, he looked at his napkin and asked if he was eating cotton candy or ice cream. You'd think he'd know the difference, but really, the napkin was super pink and the ice cream wasn't that good...
The barn was lovely--I do love a big red barn. And this one was full of antique tools and working black smith set up and a blue-grass folk band.
I'd love to learn how to play the
fiddle violin whatever that is. I'm not really a blue grassy girl, but every time I see a blue grass band, I feel like I should be.
And the big thrill of the APPLE!FESTIVAL! was getting to press a bucket of apples into juice. I will say, that is cool & Ethan loved it. When I was in kindergarten my class went to an orchard that had its own cider press and I remember being agog at the machine and the sheer vastness of how many apples went into making a small container of juice. Ethan was equally amazed and even got to participate:
apples go in...
On the way back to the parking lot, we had to play Tetanus Roulette with the giant old rusty farm vehicles.
After all that Not-Really-Appley-Apple-Festival fun (and yes, I recognize that my expectations were probably unrealistic and that Ethan had a blast regardless of how many actual apples were there), we headed to Berkeley for lunch and had the privilege of paying $40 for 2 minutes of parking, as we got back to our car literally 2 minutes after the meter expired and found a pretty little love note to the tune of $40 on our dash. Super!
But on our after lunch walk (read: $40 un-guided walking tour of Berkeley) we did discover this one tree that appeared to internalize the entirety of autumn in its own little microcosm:
...and leave no crunchy, fallen leaf unstomped.
It takes a little more effort here in Northern California, but if you're looking really closely, you can find fall.