Nothing says autumn like fresh-pressed apple cider.

Sunday, September 10, the Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s 23rd Harvest Fall Festival will welcome a new pioneer craft demonstration: Apple Cider Pressing with Steve Merritt. Merritt first tried his hand at sweet cider making back in 1969 when the then curator, Mora MacLeod, let him use the museum’s antique press. Merritt’s love of the process continued to grow to where, last year, he pressed 180 litres of cider.

The museum’s old press has since been retired. However, it will be on display while Merritt uses his own equipment and certified apples donated by St. Isidore’s Full Bellies food-sharing program to produce sweet apple cider for passers-by to sample.

Cider pressing joins a long list of crowd-pleasing attractions that give young and old alike the chance to experience how Glengarry’s early settlers worked and played. Some of the day’s highlights include:

  • Other pioneer life demonstrations… butter churning, ice cream making, quilting, rug hooking, wool spinning, blacksmithing, and animal husbandry
  • Horse-drawn parade at 1:00 pm of buggies, wagons and carts led by the Quigley Highlanders Pipes and Drums
  • Bygone farm machinery that revolutionized agriculture back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
  • Local artisans explaining their crafts and selling their wares
  • Full slate of musical entertainment in the Williams Pavilion
  • Supervised crafts and activities for children
  • Hot food, cold drinks and country-sized slices of homemade pie
  • Beer garden and the Star Inn, reputedly the oldest bar in Eastern Ontario

Another mainstay since the Festival’s inception has been the Harvest Sale fundraising tent with its cornucopia of breads, pies, squares and other baked goods, jams, jellies, preserves, fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and more… all donated by local families and all available for purchase.

A more recent addition that will be returning is the “Cow Pie 50/50” raffle. There will be two draws — one at noon and another at 2:00 pm — where the lucky winners will walk away with up to $1,125 each. The way it works is that a cow is turned loose on a paddock divided into 225 numbered squares. Whichever one she deposits a ‘cow pie’ on is the winner. Tickets sell out quickly, so visitors are encouraged to stop by the Cow Pie ticket booth as soon as they arrive.

The cost of admission to the Festival is $12 per person ($6 for museum members and students aged 5 to 17). There’s also a special family rate of $30 ($15 for member families). Children four and under are free. Cash, debit and credit cards are accepted at the entrance gates.

The Glengarry Pioneer Museum is located in Dunvegan, Ontario at the intersection of County Road 24 (Dunvegan Road) and County Road 30 (Greenfield Road). Parking is available on the road, or nearby in the Kenyon Presbyterian Church parking lot. ‘Accessibility Permit’ parking is also available.