Whiskeytown National Recreation Area hosted its second annual Harvest Fest on Saturday, September 22nd. The free public event drew a crowd of 850 to the Tower House Historic District to explore and enjoy the 150-year-old fruit orchards of gold mining pioneers Charles Camden and Levi Tower.
The day offered bushels of fun to families who could pick their own apples and pears from the historic trees. The festival also included tours of the historic Camden House, tours of the orchards, and workshops on orchard restoration.
The most popular event was the apple tasting station, which had nine varieties of antique and heirloom apples for visitors to taste and compare. Visitors debated with each other over which variety was the best as they cast their ballots for most delicious apple. It was a close race, with the Golden Russet winning the public’s choicest apple over the Rosebrook Gravenstein by only a few votes. Last year’s favorite was the Spitzenberg.
Kids could participate in games like apple croquet and the apple obstacle course. The apple poetry table was busy all day with the most creative young minds in the California North State.
The event also featured a bakeoff contest which drew in hungry crowds eyeing the scrumptious creations. Professional bakers from the community served as judges and the winning creation this year was a caramel apple pecan pie.
The Harvest Festival highlights the historic preservation work Whiskeytown has been doing over the past several years to restore the historic Camden House, rejuvenate its 150-year-old orchard tress, and revitalize the expansive cultural landscape.
Funding and support for the event was provided by the park’s local partners, Friends of Whiskeytown, Chico State College, For Love of Pie, That Kitchen Place, and the Pink Box Bakery.