Iroquois & District celebrates the McIntosh Apple

What better way to honour the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh apple than to hold a major festival?

The Iroquois & District Celebration Festival Committee, chaired by Candace Menges, has organized a fun-filled, exciting all day Apple Festival in Iroquois in honour of the famous McIntosh apple on Saturday, September 17. Working in conjunction with Sandra Beckstead of Smyth’s  Apple Orchard, organizers have seen to it that there are events, crafts, contests, entertainment, vendors, food, tours and historical displays that will tie into the heritage of the McIntosh apple.

“The Dundela McIntosh apple is the parent to all McIntosh apple varieties throughout the entire world, and also to many other apple varieties like the Cortland, which has the McIntosh as one of its parents,” said Sandra Beckstead of Smyth’s Apple Orchard. “We are very excited that there is going to be a big celebration of the McIntosh this weekend.”

This 200th anniversary of the McIntosh has been recognized nationally.

“The Apple Commission held a celebration in honour of the McIntosh at the Harbour Castle in Toronto,” Beckstead said. “We have also received congratulations from Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and prime minister Stephen Harper.”

Sadly, the last known first-generation tree grown from a graft of the original McIntosh apple tree died this summer and had to be cut down.

However, twigs were cut from the tree and have been grafted to root stock at Upper Canada Village. Three seedlings have survived. Sandra Beckstead remains very hopeful the original strain can be preserved.

The Iroquois Apple Festival  September 17 promises to be a great day for everyone.

“We are trying to revive summer festivals here in Iroquois,” said Candace Menges. “We wanted to bring our community back together for a new celebration.

Our committee of volunteers came up with the idea of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the McIntosh.”

Events run all day long with the farmers’ market opening at 8 a.m. on Saturday. There will be numerous vendors and sidewalk sales as well as plenty of food, entertainment and activities.

Most major events will be free.

“We have a visitors’ centre set up in the former Little Rikki’s restaurant in the plaza,” Menges said. “Smyth’s has set up an historic display there about the McIntosh with trivia sheets. People can also catch a shuttle there to the orchard for a tour. We will be registering pies and desserts, the baby contest and offering kids games and crafts at the centre.”

Petting zoos, pony rides, Tribeck Inflatables, face painting and plenty of contests will be the order of the day.

“We have the Howard sisters singing during our opening ceremonies, and the local band Landmark performing starting at 11 a.m.

We do ask people to come with their own lawn chairs.”

Iroquois Lawn Bowling is sponsoring the lunch barbecue. Apple bingo will be held at the Iroquois Legion, followed by a steak barbecue (tickets available at the Legion) with DJ Dave Farcey providing evening entertainment.

“We hope everyone will join us at the Apple Festival in Iroquois and revive community spirit,” Menges said. “We are excited to be part of the celebration of the famous McIntosh apple.”

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