Steyning Community Orchard’s third apple day was ‘an unqualified success’, say organisers.
The event drew widespread support from the community, including popular children’s author Julia Donaldson.
A hardy team of volunteers spent the morning preparing the site at Steyning Memorial Playing Field for the event on Saturday afternoon.
Bob Platt, from the community orchard, said: “The event was an unqualified success in terms of the numbers attending, money raised through sales and donations for Steyning Community Orchard funds and most of all for the fun of it all.
“A hardy team of volunteers spent the morning preparing the event, erecting marquees, setting up stalls and apple presses in the pouring rain, wondering if it would all be a waste of time because, if it kept on raining, they would have to cancel the event.
“But the gamble paid off and within minutes of the official opening time of noon, the rain stopped, the sun came out and so did the people of Steyning, in their hundreds. We even had a rainbow in the middle of the afternoon.”
A highlight of the day was the planting of another tree in the orchard. This one is a variety called Alfriston, planted by Anne Hill in memory of her late husband and mother.
There were lots of activities for chidren, including a professional face painter. Games and activities included apple bobbing, pin the maggot on the apple, colouring, a hunt the apple quiz and the chance to make an apple bird feeder.
Julia, author of The Gruffalo, signed copies of her books and she and her husband Malcolm told stories and sang songs with the children.
This year’s Apple Day offered live music by three local bands, refreshments, including lots of home-made, apple-based cakes and treats, and apples and home-made produce for sale.
An information tent provided a display of Sussex apple varieties, information about community orchard projects and advice about fruit tree growing.
The apple juicing tent was busy from the start and people happily took along their own apples to be turned into juice.
Mr Platt said this was popular with children, ‘probably because it was rather messy’.
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