The 3rd Annual Cider Swig: The Great Peninsula Cider Festival — one of the largest cider-centered events in the Pacific Northwest — returns to Gig Harbor in September.
Nearly three-dozen regional cidermakers will share more than 90 hard ciders with enthusiasts and the cider-curious alike at this year’s festival on Sept. 24 at Sehmel Homestead Park. It will be an exciting day for the whole family, with apple-themed games and activities for kids, food, including a Cidermakers Dinner on Sept. 23, and live music on the Cider Swig Stage, sponsored by the Tides Tavern.
But the Cider Swig is about much more than cider. It has grown to be a regular contributor to environmental education programs in the local community by supporting groups such as the Lu Winsor Environmental Grant Program, Curious by Nature School, Key Pen and PenMet Park Districts. The Cider Swig has contributed more than $15,000 to support environmental education in parks, trails and natural areas around the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula community since 2014.
Annually, the largest donation from the Cider Swig’s proceeds is contributed to the Lu Winsor Environmental Grant Program, administered by the Key Peninsula – Gig Harbor – Islands (KGI) Watershed Council. Established in 2003, the Lu Winsor program helps local students experience classroom science workshops, carry out restoration projects and attend local environmental education camps. Many of these programs benefit schools with a high number of students that are registered for the Free & Reduced Lunch program, and may have an increased need for supplemental education opportunities. For the past 13 years, Pierce County and Peninsula Light Company have joined to fund this grant program with a $5,000 contribution each.
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In Cider Swig’s first year, $2,500 was contributed to the grant program; high attendance at the 2015 Cider Swig allowed a doubling of support to $5,000.
Julie Gustanski, chair of the Cider Swig, and hopes to double the contribution again this year.
“We feel strongly that Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula residents value these programs for our children, and will spend a fun-filled day enjoying craft ciders and helping us meet our goal of a $10,000 donation to the Lu Winsor Environmental Grant Program,” Gustanski said in a release.
Proceeds from the 2015 Cider Swig focused on environmental education programs and supported the following three projects:
▪ Students from Evergreen Elementary were sent to YMCA Camp Seymour for three days of intensive environmental education courses
▪ Free rain garden workshop for the community members of Vaughn Bay provided by Pierce Conservation District
▪ Production and installation of six interpretive educational signs by the Great Peninsula Conservancy at Sehmel Homestead Park
Advance purchase tickets are $28 or at the gate for $35 (while supplies last). Cider Swig volunteers receive tickets for $18 and designated driver tickets are only $10. Each ticket includes five drink tokens and a festival glass. Extra tokens will be available for purchase at the event.
Tickets can be purchased online at ciderswig-2016.eventbrite.com or from the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation.
Interested volunteers should call 253-514-6338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission is free to all festival areas except the Cider Garden and cider sales tent, where entrants must be 21 to enter (ID required). Advance ticket purchase for the cider garden is recommended, as the event is expected to sell out.