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Fresh-pressed cider, apple fritters, cider floats. The Steilacoom Apple Squeeze is Sunday

They couldn't produce apple-cider floats fast enough at the annual Steilacoom Apple Squeeze, October 6, 2013.
They couldn't produce apple-cider floats fast enough at the annual Steilacoom Apple Squeeze, October 6, 2013. Staff file, 2013

Don’t miss the fresh-pressed cider, caramel apples, mulled cider, cider floats, apple fritters and pie.

Did I mention the homemade cinnamon sauce on that apple pie?

You’re probably sensing an apple theme to this event, and that’s exactly right. Don your cozy sweater and grab the obligatory pumpkin-spice latte, people. Fall is actually happening.

The 44th Steilacoom Apple Squeeze comes early this year on the very first day of October. It’ll be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the downtown Steilacoom historic district along Lafayette Street.

The event is a chance to watch apples being fresh pressed into cider, which participants can take home in a plastic jug for $8. It’s also a street fair with a number of food and craft booths, live entertainment and activities for kids (pssst, there are pony rides).

Here’s a look at what there is to see and do at the event.

Squeeze those apples: “Get there early,” is sage advice for Marianne Bull, organizer of the event that benefits the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association and its programs. Because the apples are squeezed manually by hand in presses, the process can be cumbersome.

“Sometimes the presses are full and they’re slow,” Bull said. “We often have to close the pressing by 3 p.m. because we’re already sold out or we have that many in line that we can’t go beyond that.”

If it’s busy, those buying cider will be assigned a return time to watch their apples pressed into cider.

For parents of squirmy toddlers: Skip the fresh-press cider lines and buy ready-pressed cider in a jug ($9) from Lattin’s Cider Mill, the Olympia-based farm. That pre-bottled cider is also refrigerated and pasteurized.

Those presses: Volunteers operate 20 presses, most of them vintage.

“Some are modern, but even those are hand operated,” Bull said.

The apples: They’re sourced for the event by Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm. Sorry, home growers, you can’t bring your own apples to press. It’s against health department rules.

Things for kids: On the tennis courts, the Steilacoom High School Key Club will have a fundraiser with face painting, pumpkin painting and games. There are also pony rides from noon to 4 p.m.

Live music: Nine Pound Hammer, Steve and Kristi Nebel, Country Dave and the Pickin’ Crew.

Artists: Photos, paper goods, jewelry, leather goods, wood crafts, garden decor will be for sale.

Museum: Steilacoom Historical Museum and the Steilacoom Tribal Museum will be open for touring. See weaving demonstrations in Town Hall.

THE FOOD

Aside from the cider, food is a big draw for this event. Here’s a look at who is serving what.

Cider floats: The museum association will serve cider topped with whipped cream.

“It’s like liquid apple pie,” Bull said.

Prefer hot cider? Mulled cider with cloves, cinnamon, allspice and brown sugar will be for sale by the cup.

Pie: In Town Hall, find pie-by-the-slice with ice cream and the association’s secret pie weapon: Homemade cinnamon sauce.

Fritters and scones: Original House of Donuts will be on site with its famous fritters. Scones come from Upper Crust Bakery, the Proctor Farmers Market staple.

Caramel apples: Those come from Marcoe Candy Co., the same outfit that sells its caramel-dipped apples at the Washington State Fair.

More substantial food: Hot dogs will be served by the museum association. Roasted corn will be at the Knights of Columbus booth. Griddler’s will serve its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Philly This, the sandwich company, will make cheesesteaks. Salmon sandwiches and chowder also will be served.

Steilacoom Apple Squeeze

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 1).

Where: Lafayette Street between Wilkes and Main in downtown Steilacoom.

Information: steilacoomhistorical.org, 253-584-4133.

Cost: Free admission.

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