As the air gets crisp and the leaves begin to die, the Whidbey Island Cider Festival prepares to end its four-year-long hibernation and bring back the flavors of fall in the name of environmental restoration.
The festival’s fourth edition will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Pacific Rim Institute, immersed in Coupeville’s countryside. Teresa Ellis, who is co-chairing the event with Kyle Magnuson, said she is very excited to bring back the event, which had been paused since the pandemic hit.
The Pacific Rim Institute, or PRI, is a Coupeville-based nonprofit that strives to restore degraded habitat in the Puget Sound region by collecting, producing and selling over 35 species of native plants.
The festival offers a variety of drinks, such as cider, wine, mead, spirits and kombucha from Pacific Northwest businesses. Local businesses include Misfit Island Cider Company, Penn Cove Brewing Company, Hierophant Meadery, Driftwood Hard Cider, Greenbank Cidery and Whidbey Island Distillery. The festival is also bringing some businesses from the Puget Sound region, like Sister’s Cider House from Bainbridge Island, Kombucha Town from Bellingham and Finnriver Farm & Cidery from the Chimacum Valley in Jefferson County.
Food vendor options for guests’ con-cider-ation will include Crabby Coffee, Little Red Hen Bakery, Linda’s Mini Donuts, Rosie James’s Food Truck and hot dogs from the Central Whidbey Lions Club.
At the festival, guests can also learn about PRI’s prairie restoration efforts, learn about indigenous culture, tour the native plant center, learn about raising honey bees and grafting fruit trees, and see Central Whidbey’s Fire and Rescue’s new land and sea vehicles up close, while kids can participate in a scavenger hunt or learn first-hand how to press apples to make cider.
To further spice up the experience, PRI is bringing live music performed by Ike and the Old Man, the Shifty Sailors and A Fiddle in the Forest.
Tickets are sold online and at the door. All ticket sale proceeds will go towards restoration efforts and expanding PRI’s collection of native seeds, Ellis said. PRI is located east of Coupeville on Parker Road.