Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival Brings Back Full Lineup


Over the years, the Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival has grown and changed, but organizer Cathy Murphy said members of the Onalaska Alliance have always had one goal in mind when it comes to their local event.

“My metric for success is that people come back,” Murphy said. “We have visitors and they want to come back.”

The Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival, the usual capstone of the spring and summer festival season in Southwest Washington, will take place Sept. 29 through Oct. 2 in Onalaska.

The 13th Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival kicks off Sept. 29 and lasts through Oct. 2. While a few local events happen Thursday and Friday, the majority of the fall festival’s activities center on Saturday and Sunday. 

On Saturday, most of Carlisle Avenue is closed down for a range of down-home fun. Attendees can carb up on pancakes at the Presbyterian Church before hitting the pavement for the annual 5K run and walk at Carlisle Lake. Or if apples are your speed, you can buy a taste of pies that are part of the apple pie contest and vote in the People’s Choice Award, buy a whole pie at the pie auction or test your mettle at the pie eating contest. Or you can take in the sounds of local music acts while strolling through vendors and activities along Carlisle Avenue and Carlisle Park.

“I think what’s attractive about our festival is the environment,” Murphy said. “There’s something about being outside and sitting next to these ancient trees. It’s a great festival and a beautiful place to experience it.”

Many other Apple Harvest Festival activities highlight some of Onalaska’s best and brightest. Attendees can bring apples to be pressed into cider by members of the Onalaska High School football team. They can see quilts and wall hangings lovingly made by local sewers. And kids 14 and younger get a chance to fish for a trout raised by Onalaska High School’s aquaculture program members. The aquaculture program raises and releases hundreds of thousands of salmon back into Gheer Creek each year.

“It’s pretty exciting. They have the fishing poles and the kids just have fun,” Murphy said. “Pretty much everybody gets a big fish.”

Another chance to taste the rural lifestyle that is the inspiration for the Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival is during the Farm & Homestead Tour and Farm to Table Dinner, which both take place on Sunday.

The Farm & Homestead Tour runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The free, self-guided tour starts at the Onalaska Alliance Office or at any of the stops on the tour. This year’s participants are: Wells’ Winery, 140 Eschaton Road, Onalaska, where Toledo Black Cat Coffee and Bee Wrangler will be featured; The Huntting’s Pumpkin Patch, 600 Cinebar Road, Cinebar, featuring Brooks Baked Goods; 3 Dog Cider & Brewstillery, 1402 state Route 122, Silver Creek, featuring Stained Glass by Carol; Shady Grove Orchards, 183 Shady Grove Road, Onalaska, featuring Truffle Shuffle; Salkum Gardens, 2480 U.S. Highway 12, Salkum., featuring LG Nature Photo; and Lewis County Farms, 107 Pinkerton Road, Ethel, featuring Katie Cups Treat Boutique.

Murphy said that in her opinion, one “must stop” location on this year’s tour is Wells’ Winery. Owner Carol Wells has announced she is retiring and her open house during the Farm & Homestead Tour will be the last chance for the public to visit the winery. Murphy said that Wells has been involved with the Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival since the first year and got enthusiastically behind the Farm & Homestead Tour when it was first announced.

“We really want to honor her for her service and commitment to this community and to our event,” Murphy said. “We just really appreciate her.”

Returning after a two-year hiatus, this year’s Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival Farm to Table Dinner will take place 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Mason Jar. 

Because there were still COVID-19 restrictions in place regarding indoor gatherings last fall, Murphy said they had to make the decision to cancel any events that could not be held outdoors. That meant that the popular Farm to Table Dinner, which usually caps the Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival weekend, had to be called off.

This year, the $85 per person Farm to Table dinner will feature a full menu by Chehalis chef Jeremy Wildhaber featuring charcuterie board or local cheeses, fruits, nuts and chocolate; harvest salad with local berry vinaigrette; an entrée of either roasted, stuffed duck with white wine gravy and root vegetables or stuffed acorn squash with local chestnuts; and local rhubarb and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.

Visit onalaskaalliance.org or follow @OnalaskaAppleHarvestFest on Facebook to learn more.

If You Go …

What: Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival

When: Sept. 29-Oct. 2

Where: various locations in Onalaska



Thursday, Sept. 29

6-8 p.m. — Royal Court Bingo, Onalaska School


Friday, Sept. 30

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Wall Hanging & Quilt Show, Onalaska Presbyterian Church

6 p.m. — Royal Court Coronation, Onalaska School


Saturday, Oct. 1

7-10 a.m. — Pancake Breakfast, Onalaska Presbyterian Church

8 a.m. to noon — Apple Cider Pressing supporting the Onalaska Football Team, Community Youth Center

9 a.m. — Fun Run & Walk, Carlisle Lake (Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.)

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Vendors, Food & Market Booths, Carlisle Park along Carlisle Ave.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Wall Hanging & Quilt Show, Onalaska Presbyterian Church

10 a.m. t0 4 p.m. — Apple Pie Baking Contest (bring entries at 9:30 a.m.) and People’s Choice Voting (buy a taste for $1 per ticket or 6 tickets for $5), Carlisle Ave. & 4th Ave.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — BBQ Lunch, Onalaska Presbyterian Church

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Local wine, beer and cider garden next to Logger’s Burger Bar

11:30 a.m. Parade, Carlisle Ave.

Noon to 4 p.m. — Live Music, Carlisle Ave.

Noon to 4 p.m. — Open houses at Onalaska Alliance Office and Onalaska Fire Station

Noon to 3 p.m. — Onalaska High School Aquaculture Program trout fishing for kids 14 and younger, building next to high school bus garage

1 p.m. — Cornhole Tournament ($40 entry for teams of 2, warm up and check in at noon), between Twinstar and Logger’s Burger Bar

1:30 p.m. — Apple Pie Auction, Carlisle Ave. & 4th Ave.

3 p.m. — Apple Pie Eating Contest ($2 to enter), Carlisle Ave & 4th Ave.


Sunday, Oct. 2

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. —  Farm & Homestead Tour, Various Locations

5-8 p.m. — Farm to Table Dinner, The Mason Jar

Information: onalaskaalliance.org or @OnalaskaAppleHarvestFest on Facebook