The highlight of the fall apple harvest is the Julian Apple Days Festival, a two-day celebration featuring apple displays, music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children’s games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, food and merchandise vendors, contests, the coronation of Mr. and Mrs. Apple Days, and, of course, apple pie. The coronation for Mr. and Mrs. Apple Days will be held on Saturday at 1:00 PM.
The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday. The admission is $5 for adults with children 12 and under free of charge. Last year’s festival attracted over 3,000 visitors. This year, the first 250 people through the gate (paid admission only) each day receive a free pie server (the better to enjoy the apple pie you’ll be making when the festival is over!).
There’s plenty of free parking for the Apple Days Festival available at Menghini Winery, located at the end of Farmer Road, about 2 miles out of downtown Julian.
There will also be a variety of other events throughout the town and surrounding areas this weekend, including an Oktoberfest at the Rabobank Parking lot on Main Street, the Annual Laguna Mountain Rendezvous in Santa Ysabel, the OId Time Melodrama & Olio performance at Town Hall, wine tours, a Country Market at Wynola Junction Antiques, and entertainment by Julian’s Doves & Desperadoes.
The Apple Days celebration is planned by The Julian Merchants Association, a community group representing more than 90 merchants in the greater Julian area — Julian, Wynola and Santa Ysabel in San Diego County’s eastern mountains.
In 1907, Julian apples won the prestigious Wilder Medal, the highest award given by the American Pomological Society. A fall festival called Apple Day was planned to celebrate. On October 9, 1909, colorful displays of various varieties of apples were set up in Town Hall, there was an all-night dance, free food, some speeches and a baseball game with Ramona. There was foot racing, rooster-pulling on horseback, and fancy riding tricks by individual horsemen. Newspaper accounts estimated the crowd from 200 to 2,000. Subsequent annual celebrations would attract upwards of 45,000 people.
New to the area and want to know more? Think about gold, apples, romantic getaways, unique shops and nature. Julian, California, is located just over an hour from San Diego and is the area’s premier mountain getaway. Famous for its apple pies, this historic town dates back to gold rush days, complete with floozies, old-time melodramas, shoot-outs, horse and carriage rides, pine/oak forests, wineries and more. Julian has four complete seasons boasting daffodils and lilacs in the spring, winter wonderland snowfalls, clear starry summer nights and brilliant fall colors. You can camp, RV, stay in a hotel, inn or lodge, or choose from its many beautiful bed & breakfasts.
Julian’s Apple Days is just one celebration held in this town throughout each year. Apple Days will be held on October 4 and 5, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $5. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. Apple Days will be held at the Menghini Winery.