Content supported by the Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival
It’s time to break out the pumpkin coffee and UGG boots – the Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival is coming up, and that means fall has officially started in the Albany area. The premier apple festival in the region is happening on September 16th and 17th and this year is the 25th anniversary!
The Apple & Wine Festival typically attracts 18,000 attendees each year. Guests can enjoy a wine tasting, a juried art and craft show, a food court with Pride of NY Specialty food vendors, kids activities, and a car show.
Sample and Purchase New York State Wines
Admission to the wine tasting building is $8 per person and includes a 10oz souvenir wine tasting glass. If you’d like to just browse and shop the wines without sampling there is no charge.
Participating wineries this year include but are not limited to: Adirondack Winery, Ashley Lynn Winery, Black Creek Farm, Cascade Mountain Winery, Crooked Lake Winery, Eagle Crest Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Helderberg Meadworks, Heron Hill Winery, Hunt Country Winery, Idol Ridge Winery, Lakeland Winery, Limeberry Winery, Miles Wine Cellars, Pazdar Winery, Raymor Estate Cellars, Sundog Cider, Thousand Islands Winery, Three Brothers Winery & Estates, Tug Hill Vineyards, Warwick Valley Wine Co., and more.
Enjoy Fall Produce & Treats at the Farm Market
Festival-goers can check out an extensive farmers market and bakery. It may be all about the apples at the Apple & Wine Festival, but it’s important to include all the local late season produce we can enjoy from our farmers and producers.
Products on sale will include but not be limited to: fall vegetables, maple syrup and maple products, baked goods, teas, spice blends and rubs, olive oil mixes, roasted nuts, goat’s milk and cheese, gourmet cheddars and cheese spreads, and for something truly unique – prepackaged gourmet wine slushy mixes!
Apple-wise be ready for loose apples, apples in pies and baked goods like pastry puffs, candied apples, and apple cider doughnuts.
Keep the Kids Entertained
You’ll definitely want to bring the little ones to this event, because there’s plenty for the kids to do!
Kids activities include: face painting; pumpkin painting; a haunted house presented by the Town of Guilderland Police Explorers; clowns, jugglers, and stilt walkers; bounces and slides; and brand new this year, Battle Bubble Ball Soccer! Kids can jump around inside giant inflatable bubbles, what could be more fun than that?
In addition, there will be pony rides and a petting zoo from Dream Ponies and Zoo (12pm to 4pm both days), an Amazing Kids Circus (Saturday at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm; Sunday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm), and The Incredible Larry (Saturday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm; Sunday at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm).
The Incredible Larry is a comedic spectacle experienced in staged and street performances, with a specialty in festival entertainment. His acts include juggling, stilt walking, physical comedy, unicycling, and more.
Browse Top Notch Crafts at the Craft Show
This year 100 craft exhibitors will be accepted into the show. The festival really strives to present the absolute best craftwork for the public. All items offered for sale must be designed, created, and handcrafted by the exhibitor.
If you’re someone who likes to buy local, this is the perfect chance to purchase completely handmade items from those in our community.
“The people who participate in the craft show are extremely talented,” said Brenda Ladd of Northeast Show Promoters, who is the Show Coordinator of the festival. “This is their business and they work very hard to find worthwhile shows to participate in.”
The Arts & Crafts Show is a juried show, which means that all participants must submit photos of their work before being accepted. Not only will you be buying local to support the hardworking artists and craftspeople in our area, but you’ll definitely be purchasing quality items as dictated by the high standards of the festival.
Items for sale guests can expect: paintings, ceramics, pottery, photography, fiber arts, doll clothing, baby accessories, candles, body products, aromatherapy products, handcrafted wooden furniture, knitted items, and so much more.
Rock Out to Live Music
A festival just wouldn’t be a festival without live music!
On Saturday the 16th you can hear tunes from HEY DJ from 11am to 3:30pm, Old Time Fiddlin & Banjo from 11:30am to 2:30pm, and 3 Wheel Drive from 12pm to 5pm.
On Sunday the 17th you can hear Old Time Fiddlin & Banjo from 12pm to 3pm and Shades of Grey from 12pm to 4pm.
Check Out Classic Cars at the Car Show
The Car Show is taking place on Saturday from 10am to 3pm, with a rain date of Sunday.
All show cars can enter at the Park Street Entrance, which will be open at 9am and close at 12pm for judging. There will be two car show classes of 1980 and older, and 1980 and newer.
Trophies will be awarded for the top 10 show cars in each class and awards given for the best bikes. Awards will be given out at 2pm.
Dash plaques and goody bags will be given out to the first 50 cars that enter. The entrance fee is $10 per car or bike, which admits two people to the car show and the festival. Additional admissions for those over 15 may be purchased for $8 each.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle, wine tasting, craft booths, a haunted house, a bouncy bounce and slide, music, and lots of great apple treats as well.
What Makes the Festival Special
What really makes the festival stand out from other fall festivals is the combination of apples and wine – no one else in the area is building an entire event out of those two items.
The other truly special aspect of the Apple & Wine Festival is what it contributes to the community. Each year, the festival raises thousands of dollars for many important service-oriented organizations throughout the Capital Region. These groups include the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Clowns on Rounds, Westerloo Basic Valley Fish and Game Club, and the Town of Guilderland Police Explorers.
Although you’re helping out the local community just by attending the festival, if you want to go a step further: Bring a nonperishable food item or make a monetary donation to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and receive a $1.00 off your next purchase of $10.00 or more at Altamont Orchards, valid September 25th through October 31st.
The Regional Food Bank booth will be located just inside the entrance.
“It’s so much fun to walk through the show and see people enjoying themselves, bringing their kids to enjoy things like the haunted house, and know that they’re benefiting a nonprofit organization,” Ladd told us.
The Fascinating History of the Festival
The Apple & Wine Festival has now been running for 25 years! The key to their success? The organizers are always changing things up and looking to tweak the festival for the better.
In 2010 the festival underwent a name change: the Capital District Apple Festival & Craft Show morphed into the Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival, to better reflect their expansion into wine tasting.
The date was changed as well, from October to September, which is when most apple varieties start coming into season in our area. A few years later, the event was moved from its location at Altamont Orchards to the Altamont Fairgrounds for a more extensive layout and a better flow to the festival.
Although those are the major changes that have taken place in recent years, the festival switches up its vendors and activities a little bit each year to keep everything fresh and exciting. And, they only accept the best of the best.
“We have stringent codes to accepting vendors to maintain quality, from the wine to the other vendors to the entertainment,” said Ladd.
Ladd works hand in hand with Jim Abbruzzese of Altamont Orchards to make the festival as great as it can be year after year. Ladd has been with the Apple & Wine Festival since its conception.
“I’ve been involved since day one, so it’s been very exciting to see the many changes that have happened over the years,” Ladd told us. “From moving it from the orchard to the fair, the new layouts, new dates, new name – just seeing it evolve from year to year has been amazing.”
How to Get Tickets
Advanced sale tickets are available at all Price Chopper registers beginning September 3rd and ending September 15th. General admission is $8 at the gate, with children under 15 free when accompanied with an adult.
While the festival is fun for kids and adults alike, please leave the furry members of the family at home.
The Apple & Wine Festival is everything that we all enjoy about autumn, and there’s no better way to embrace the fall season. Between kids activities, a farmers market, handmade local items, and a wine tasting, there’s definitely something to keep everyone engaged and satisfied.
Come for one day or both, but definitely check out the Capital Region Apple & Wine Festival, open on Saturday, September 16th, and Sunday, September 17th!