Last year was an enjoyable stroll around the park indulging in apple juice, cups of tea and cakes a plenty, a gentle introduction to the art of holding an event in your local village. This year we pushed the boundaries a little, when I say pushed the boundaries, I really mean we made it a little bit bigger, a little bit better - but who knows in the coming year’s we may need the whole park for IER Apple Day – scary, but very exciting.
The day was all about getting the message to as much of the local community as possible, using a variety of tasty treats and child friendly fun. Apple Day 2011 for Incredible Edible Ramsbottom was an Autumnal treat from start to finish.
Bigger and busier than last year it may have been, but did it lose the sense of community that IER work so hard at? Never. With the numbers swelled from last year with new recruits, both young and the not so young, -we even managed to draft in the help of some temporary converts - I for one thought we might have had a relaxing day, meeting and greeting locals to chat about the work IER does throughout the year. Not a bit of it. No one had time to breathe. The turnout on what was a pretty ordinary day if truth be told was fairly sensational. Queues formed for all types of apple related miscellany, pressing, bobbing, peeling, pencil making, face painting, mask making, story telling, chutneys, teas, crepes and of course Cyril the Squirrel. Although it has to be said the only reason for crepe queues was down to a man having a problem with his gas. For the other queuing related delays, these were purely down to popularity.
Recent volunteers included Zhenya, who was thrown in at the deep end making the teas and hot chocolates. Jason took setting up a fete stall to new lengths. And the Yurt made its first appearance. A rather cosy experience for the little ones, cushions, books and story telling, if I could have got away with it I think that’s where I would have hidden for the day.
As usual the apple press was a popular stall, a marvelous investment thanks to last year’s successes. Ian and Mike worked up quite a sweat to keep the juice flowing. But the really magical draw of the day was the activities tent, masks and flags were made. Ranger Ron added his technical expertise with a bit of nifty pencil making – a true recycling of the apple trees. If the number of happy apple painted faces was anything to go by, the true star in that tent was Billie, who has created a new injury to go with tennis elbow, writer’s cramp and now face painter’s buttock. Sorry Bill.
My favourite part of the day however had to be the parade. Whilst the turnout may not have been huge, the chance to see kids and adults dance around in the park is a treat not to be missed. But please don’t look at those photos, I was dragged in to the throng by my daughter, I did not go voluntarily! Debbie, Ruth and Joy on the other hand looked like a right bushel of Pippins.
So to all those who helped, who created, who ate, who drank, who listened, who planted, who played, who bought, who donated, who erected and dismantled and who jimmied with ranger Ron’s jimmying stick - thank you and roll on next year.
IER Apple Day was a real celebration of apples and our amazing orchard and the hard work that entails, but more important than that it is the very essence of community spirit and endeavour. A sense that we can all do something good for each other. Pam summed it up perfectly “It's like some old fashioned movie where it's all happy at the end of the film. It just feels good and honest and more than anything it feels like fun.” And when all is said and done we all went home with a smile didn’t we? A tired smile maybe, but there it was on everyone’s face. Not a smile born out of cheeriness per se, but one of hard work, laced with the knowledge that we did something…something appealing...sorry.