By Miriam Raftery
September 30, 2011 (Julian)—Autumn means apple season in historic Julian, where you can sample fresh apple cider or bring the family and pick your own apples at roadside orchards.
As part of Julian’s Apple Days Centennial Celebration, a two-day Apple Days Festival will be held October 1 and 2 at Menghini Winery featuring apple displays, music and dancing, antique tractor display, kids' games, gold panning demonstrations, beer and wine garden,vendors, contests, and the modern day Julian "gold" -- apple pies!
The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday. The admission is $5 for adults with children 12 and under free of charge.
In 1907, Julian apples won the prestigious Wilder Medal, the highest award given by the American Pomological Society. Hard-working ranchers wanted to celebrate, town leaders wanted to interest outsiders in Julian’s future so preparations got underway for a great event, a harvest home, a fall festival undefined and they called it Apple Day. On October 9, 1909, colorful displays of various varieties of apples were set up in Town Hall, there was an all-night dance, free food, some speeches and a baseball game with Ramona. There was foot racing, rooster-pulling on horseback, and fancy riding tricks by individual horsemen. Newspaper accounts estimated the crowd from 200 to 2,000. Subsequent annual celebrations would attract upwards of 45,000 people.
“Today, Julian Apple Days is no longer a single day event but a full two month celebration with a variety of daily activities,” according to Tracy Turner, president of Julian’s Merchants Association. “The Festival gives you a special weekend of fun.”
The coronation for Mr. and Mrs. Apple Days will be held on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
There’s plenty of free parking for the Apple Days Festival available at Menghini Winery, located at the end of Farmer Road, about 2 miles out of downtown Julian. Last year’s festival attracted over 3,000 visitors.
There will also be a variety of other events throughout the town and surrounding areas this weekend, including an Oktoberfest at the Rabobank Parking lot on Main Street, the 13th Annual Laguna Mountain Rendezvous in Santa Ysabel, the OId Time Melodrama & Olio performance at Town Hall, wine tours, a Country Market at Wynola Junction Antiques, and entertainment by Julian’s Doves & Desperadoes.
The Apple Days celebration is planned by The Julian Merchants Association, a community group representing more than 90 merchants in the greater Julian area -- Julian, Wynola and Santa Ysabel in San Diego County's eastern mountains.