Fall is close. But don't fret. September is the month of apples, and whether you prefer apple pie or apple fritters, Yakima Valley's harvest season has something for everyone—kids and grown-up kids alike.
Fall Festival at Bill’s Berry Farm (Sept 21 & 28)
With a Barnyard Train, petting zoo, pony rides, and caramel apples galore, Bill’s Berry Farm is the perfect place to take the family. Catch the free hayride shuttle out to U-Pick apple trees and stock up on supplies for cobblers, crisps, and cider. Squeeze your own cider at the farm, or, if all that pickin’ has tired you out, buy a pre-pressed jug from the farm store and tell everyone you made it yourself. Bonus: Apple slingshots. Make it through the donut hole and win a dozen free donuts. Need we say more?
Tree Top Skewered Apple BBQ Championship (Sept 7–8)
Apparently, on top of making delicious, quality, apple juice, Tree Top also throws a mean BBQ competition. For the fourth year in a row, barbecue masters gather at Tree Top headquarters to grill up brisket, chicken, and pork butt and compete for up to $25,000 in prize money. An apple pie eating contest is in order, and you won’t want to miss the “infamous” Pork Butt Parade.
Annual Apple Valley Kiwanis Wine Country Trek (Sept 28–29)
This two-day bike ride covers 120 miles of vineyards, hop fields, and apple orchards from Yakima to Prosser and back again. All proceeds from the event go to the Kiwanis community and youth service projects, just in case you needed an incentive to get on your bike. The Great Prosser Balloon Rally (Sept. 27-29) happens the same weekend and makes the bike route all the more scenic. On Sunday morning, early risers will be able to watch the sunrise balloon launch before hitting the road on the way back to Yakima.
Fresh Hop Ale Festival (Oct 5)
Apples aren’t the only thing to be excited about this fall. The Yakima Valley grows 78% of the hop crop nationwide, a fact that is certainly worth raising a glass to at the 11th Annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival, where over 30 different breweries will be present. In addition to sampling, there will be brewing demonstrations, a cigar tent, plenty of food, and live music – not to mention street dancing, but that might have to wait till you’re a couple beers in.