CAMANO ISLAND — Fall is fast approaching, and that means it’s time for cider.
On Camano Island, a new festival happening this weekend will introduce local cidermakers to a wider audience and give local cider fans an opportunity to try them all in one place.
The first Camano Ciderfest is set for Saturday at the Camano Commons Market Place, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd. There will be two tasting sessions starting at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., each including six tasting tokens. Tickets are $35 per session.
Camano Ciderfest Executive Director Emily Fekkes said organizers wanted to showcase some of the great cideries in the region that are often overshadowed by the larger scenes on the mainland.
“We have some great cideries here on the island and in Skagit Valley, so we wanted to invite local cideries who maybe don’t get as much attention,” said Fekkes. “We see a lot of value in highlighting the cideries right around us.”
The festival will be intimate, with just nine cideries pouring. That was by design, said Fekkes, who added that larger festivals can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming for attendees and inconvenient for smaller cideries.
“We wanted a festival where people could talk to the owners and cidermakers and have a conversation,” said Fekkes. “The idea is that they can focus on a smaller number of cideries, try more of their ciders and form a relationship.”
Most of the participating cideries are of the artisanal and boutique variety, making cider on a very small scale and often using ingredients sourced locally. Some of the small-batch cideries invited to the festival include Camano Cider, Snohomish’s Empyrical Cider, Mount Vernon’s Alma Cider and Burro Loco Cider, and Burlington’s Garden Path Fermentation.
Larger cidermakers Offset Cider, Schilling Cider, Tieton Cider and 2 Towns Ciderhouse round out the lineup.
Corey Haugen, owner of Camano Cider, and Alma Cider owner Dave Klawer were on the planning committee for the event and helped recruit other local producers.
“Recruiting cideries was a total group effort, and that’s key when you’re starting this type of event,” said Haugen. “I’m really pleased with the cideries that have decided to come. It’s a diverse group of small and larger cideries that we think will give attendees a great experience.”
Fekkes said she hopes families and cider fans use the Labor Day weekend to not only enjoy some cider at the festival but to explore Camano Island.
“Come out and visit a park and look around,” said Fekkes.
There will be food available from Tapped Camano and Primal Barbecue, and live music from South End String Band.
When: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Camano Commons, 848 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island
Tickets: $35; includes six tasting tokens. Purchase tickets at camanocommons.com.
Cider Summit Seattle returns Sept. 8-9
With more than 50 cideries and 150 ciders, meads, cocktails and more, the annual Cider Summit Seattle is the region’s largest cider festival. The annual festival is 3 to 8 p.m. Sept. 8 and noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 9 at Lake Union Park in Seattle.
Local producer Empyrical Cider will be pouring at this year’s festival, among dozens of other producers from across Washington and as far away as France. For a full list of participants and ticket information, visit cidersummitnw.com.