Live music, an old-fashioned baking contest, free tree cuttings and more awaited the community at the free annual Old Apple Tree Festival at the Old Apple Tree. Planted in 1826 at Fort Vancouver of modest beginnings, the noble Old Apple Tree is considered the matriarch of Washington State's apple industry. It has stoically withstood flood, wind, ice, snow, steady human encroachment and, most recently, breakage of a major limb. Despite the challenges, it survives.
Vancouver has commemorated the rich heritage of the tree and region each fall since 1984, when the Old Apple Tree Park was opened, until three years ago, when construction of the Confluence Project's Vancouver Land Bridge from Fort Vancouver to the Old Apple Tree Park placed the event temporarily on hold.
To mark the return of the Old Apple Tree Festival, the City of Vancouver's Urban Forestry Commission gave away locally grown apples and the Old Apple Tree itself will provide tree cuttings - one per household while the limited supply lasted.
The family-friendly festival featured live music by the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association and Vancouver Blue Grass Jammers; activities for kids; arborists answering questions about trees; and on-site food vendors. A prize awaited the best overall apple entry in an Old-fashioned Baking Contest, sponsored by the Optimists Club of Vancouver. (No, I did not enter it.)
This is how one approaches the OLD Apple Tree Park from the south -- on Columbia Way, which parallels the Columbia River, you walk under the "bridge" of the railroad tracks! Inside, you find a grassy park with a few benches and the beginning of the Land Bridge recently constructed over Hiway 14.BUT most of all, you find the oldest apple tree in the Northwest.
This past year, our famous apple tree had the misfortune to break off in two major places during a windstorm. The agriculture people thought we had lost our historical tree BUT it was not to be. It has major damage but it is still growing! The following photos are views of it from all sides.It is a shame that they had to put the orange "keep out" fence around it but at least it was there to celebrate another year of history. With the good, sometimes comes the "bad" -- the tree has lasted so long that we hate to see anything happen to it. It is OUR history!
The OLD APPLE TREE has provided many cuttings yearly on its anniversary each FALL. Although many people have personal plantings FROM the tree (They give 100 away annually.) and planted them all over Vancouver and surrounding cities, this is the one we all gather at each FALL to celebrate a part of our history.
Many other things were happening at the event and maybe I will show some of the photos in another post as this one has gotten quite long now. . .
This one was planted just 7 years ago.
This seedling was planted on the north side of the old Carnegie Library, now a Museum for Clark County, but hopefully, it will carry on the traditions of the OLD APPLE TREE should it not live to celebrate another year.
See the beautiful apples the descendant of the original OLD APPLE TREE produced this year?!?