It doesn’t matter whether you prefer apples baked into a muffin or topped with caramel or infused in a bottle of wine or just a regular ol’ apple.
This weekend’s 28th annual Apple Fest in LeClaire has it all.
Twenty-five vendors, including bakeries such as Eastern Iowa Baking Co. and Barb’s Garden and Pantry and food trucks such as Load of Crepe as well as arts and crafts options and a children's area, will be set up on the LeClaire levee from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
About 4,000 people attended last year’s party celebrating all-things-apples, according to fest organizer Carl Boehl, who is the secretary and treasurer of the LeClaire Lions Club. The club will be selling chili, brats, hot dogs, chili dogs, and pork chop sandwiches.
“It brings a lot of people to LeClaire and the whole town,” Boehl said.
“People that come here then go downtown to all of the shops."
Several shops on Cody Road and around LeClaire will offer speciality items on Sunday in conjunction with Apple Fest.
Among them is The Shameless Chocoholic, a candy shop on Jones Street that will offer a variety of 10 caramel apples -- including a new concoction topped with cotton candy -- on Sunday and through October, says owner Rebecca Burns.
She’s gearing up for a busier weekend than usual. She and her staff will offer caramel apple flavors such as peanut butter cup, salted caramel, apple pie, cookies and cream and toffee. Seasonal fudges and caramel-dipped pears will also be available.
“It gets people in the fall spirit,” Burns said. “People come in all year round looking for apples, so this will probably more busy.”
Burns, a self-described “fall person,” is happy the weather is cooling down in time for Apple Fest.
“When it's 90 degrees nobody wants to go the apple orchard or go to the pumpkin patch when you’re sweating,” she said. “It’s going to be a late season for people, and they’ll get in the frame of mind when it starts to cool off.”
In addition, Wide River Winery will offer samples of its brand new apple wine, coined Court of Appeels,” on Sunday. A pumpkin pie wine, called Harvest Hurrah, will also be available.
“From traveling to other wineries last fall around the midwest, we noticed apple wine was really popular,” Liz Quinn, who handles sales and marketing for the winery.
Her mother, Dorothy O’Brien, the winery’s owner, viticulturist and wine-maker, decided to follow the trend. Their apple wine was unveiled last week.
“And we love the smell of it,” Quinn said.
This will be winery’s first Apple Fest, but if other festivals are any indication, Quinn said, LeClaire will be a happening place this weekend.
“I think doing any kind of festival in LeClaire is a great opportunity because of its small town feel yet it’s very vibrant,” she said. “That friendly Midwestern vibe makes it a great place for a festival like Apple Fest.”
Read on for more ways to celebrate apple season around the Q-C:
Visit Stone's Apple Barn
This apple orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 16115 Hubbard Road, East Moline. You can pick your own apples and tour the farm, which also offers a petting zoo and hayrack rides on the weekends. Call 309-496-2318 or visit www.facebook.com/stonesappleb/
Learn how to make apple butter
Yes, there’s a class for that. Learn how to make apple butter (and pumpkin butter) at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Quad-Cities Food Hub, 421 W. River Drive, Davenport. Cost is $12 per person. Each participant will leave with jars of apple and pumpkin butter.
Fall flavors at Freight House Farmers Market
The Freight House Farmers Market will wrap up on Oct. 29. Before that, you can bet on finding all sorts of apple flavors there. Visit the outdoor market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at 421 W. River Drive, Davenport.
The Davenport Farmers Market is hosting an apple tasting event with farmer Gary Weber from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 14, at NorthPark Mall, 320 W Kimberly Road, Davenport. For more info, visit mvgrowers.com.
Road trip to Gravert's Orchard
At Gravert’s Orchard, 54757 Hwy 52, Sabula, Iowa, you can see 20 types of apple trees, pick your own apples and visit the orchard’s general store. It’s open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Monday. For more info, call 563-687-2298 or visit www.gravertorchard.com