The third annual Dolores Harvest Festival and Apple Orchard Social will take place on Oct. 14 at Flanders Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Locally grown produce and meat will be for sale, and heritage apple trees will be available from the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project. There will be a beer garden and locally made hard cider by Teal Cider.
Live music will be provided by local band The Tomlynn Acoustic Experience from noon to 3 p.m. with special guests joining in.
“We continue to grow the event,” said Rocky Moss, director of the Dolores Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the event. “This year, the live music will go longer, the beer and cider area is larger, and we added a new vendor that sells local beef, wool and lamb.”
Montezuma Orchard Project representatives will discuss their mission of reviving the fruit orchard industry in Montezuma County and promoting agritourism. They have been collecting historic apple varieties and growing saplings to distribute throughout the county. They are also planning a community orchard in Joe Rowell Park.
“We have a lot of trees for sale at the harvest festival this year, and quite a few rare and unusual ones,” said Jude Schuenemeyer, co-director of the Orchard Project.
Some historic apple trees for sale include Thunderbolts and Baldwins, plus a few of the very rare Colorado orange variety. Cider varieties will also be for sale, including Egremont Russet and Orleans Rienette.
“The orchard social is a way to educate people on growing and restoring orchards, sharing different ways to prepare apples, and teaching how to make orchards economically viable again,” Schuenemeyer said.
Unfortunately, this year apple crop did not do well because of freezes in May and June, but he said planting more orchards provides more insurance against total crop loss.
Andrew Schafer, of the local Cedar Mesa Ranch, is attending the festival for the first time to sell his grass-fed Angus beef, Navajo-Churro lamb meat and wool.
“Our cattle and Churro sheep are adapted to thrive in the Southwest and produce an excellent product,” he said. “The Churro lamb is a unique meat and has a sweet and juicy flavor because they do not store fat like other sheep.”
Refrigerated packages will be available all day.
Churro yarn and roving for hand spinning will also be for sale.
“It’s all naturally colored with high luster,” Schafer said.
Also at the festival, there will be Navajo tacos for sale, the Lady of Our Victory Church will be selling burgers, and there will be free Galloping Goose rides. An assortment of pumpkins and gourds also will fill the vending tables.
“It’s all about fall spirit, bringing together the community, and bringing people into town,” Moss said.
Last year, the event brought in about 350 people to town, she said, including many drop-in tourists and hunters.
The event attracts about 20 vendors every year, and there is still time to reserve a spot. Vendor booths are $50, and for nonprofits it’s $25. For vendor and sponsor information, call Moss at 970-570-7486.