By: Wendy Wang, Alex Hu, Dea Yu
Autumn is a time of colourful leaves, harvest and apples. On the sunny day of September 29th, Voice K headed to the Ireland House of Oakridge Farm in Burlington to get a taste of the country. It's the highly praised Applefest Fall Fair! It's a fun event for friends and family, with kids' activities, vendors, attractions and country-style food. Everyone at the entrance was offered an apple as a token of welcome. We got there at 11am, but the place was already swarming with people.
The Ireland House is actually a museum, but the atmosphere is a lot more lively than the average one. We got to chat with Valerie Amaral, the Special Events Assistant of Burlington Museums.
Alex: Why did you organize this event?
Valerie: It is a fundraising event for the Museum of Burlington. All the funds go back to the museum’s education programs and artifact preservation. It is a fun community event to bring people back to their heritage, learn and have fun while doing it. Who doesn’t like a fall fair?
Dea: What is your favourite activity to do at the AppleFest?
Valerie: It is probably the Hay Maze, since it is a fun and fall-harvesty kind of activity. It is free for people to do. The scarecrow game is fun too, you get to make your own life size scarecrow.
Dea: What is the hardest thing you have done organizing this event?
Valerie: The hardest thing would be the general setup. Putting every component together, it is a lot of work. We have our vendors, activity providers, museum activities and food and beverages. It is the hardest thing on the day of event. You plan ahead sitting in front of the computer, yet when you put everything together, challenges come up. But that’s the fun of it.
Alex: How many people usually turn out each year?
Valerie: Typically we get around 1500 people each year, however, by partnering up with Rocca Sisters, it has boosted our numbers close to 2500 this year.
We also interviewed a volunteer who was in charge of food called Barbara Teatero. She helps out the AppleFest every year and she enjoys working here. She says there were over 60 volunteers that came to put the whole festival together! Her biggest challenge was to make sure there was enough food for everybody and that all the people are happy and safe.
The Ireland House is probably the closest thing to a "portal to the past." It has supported the Ireland family for three generations and still stands in excellent condition while preserving the cozy atmosphere of a Victorian household. Let's take a look!
At the front door stood a tall man in Victorian age attire, greeting everyone that came in. With black shoes, a collared white shirt, trousers and trench coat, his look was completed with a top hat and a cane. If he had held a magnifying glass, we would've thought he was Sherlock Holmes! There was also a woman inside the house explaining about the black and white family portraits. She wore a traditional high collared dress and a round bonnet on her head.
"It's called a poke bonnet. It was a very fashionable hat for women to wear in the Victorian age. But like all hats, they were usually to be taken off inside the house." She said.
As we ventured further into the house we discovered a thirty-five foot well and even a summer kitchen! The interior walls of the house were covered by fancy wallpaper decorated with portraits of the original Ireland family. However, the scent of apples lead us to an old-fashioned wood fireplace used for cooking. A woman that was dressed in a simple dress was baking cookies on a wooden board over the fire. It smelled so good!
"The Ireland family made a living from the apple harvest, and were very successful too! Some of their specialties were apple juice and apple cider. This is a cider-press machine!" Almeida said, pointing at the wooden structure.
The process is actually quite simple, but you sure need some muscle to get it working. First, you drop four to five apples into the top of the cider press. By turning a handle on the side you crush the apples into small chunks that fall into the bucket below. When the bucket is just over half full, it's time to squeeze the juice out. There is a second handle on the top of the machine which you have to turn in order to "press" the apple juice into the container at the very bottom. Voice K gave it a try, and we promise you it isn't as easy as you think. It takes quite a few apples to make only one glass of apple juice.
"Members of the Ireland family worked at this cider-press everyday during the apple harvest!" Almeida adds, "It's hard work, but this, this is pure apple juice straight from the fruit itself. It's great."
Do you know what's the difference between apple juice and apple cider? The truth is they are almost the same thing as they are both 100% apple juice. However, apple cider is fermented apple juice. It's what gives cider the tart and stronger taste, which tastes great hot or cold.
The Ireland House certainly shows us what heritage is about, and there are surprises in every room. We learned a lot but had a lot of fun at the same time. The Applefest is a great way to appreciate our heritage with some good country fare. It certainly got us into the "fall mood."
Hi! My name is Wendy Wang. I am 14 years old and I live in Mississauga, Ontario. Writing is my passion, whether it's stories, poems, or articles. In my spare time I also love reading, drawing, swimming, and hanging out with my friends at Edenwood Middle School. To me, life is an adventure so I never miss a chance to try new things and meet new people. It has been so much fun participating in the creation of this magazine, so I hope you enjoy it!
Hi, my name is Alex, I am 9 years old. I am in grade 4. I go to Maple Grove Public School in Oakville. I was born in the United States. I am the only child. I love hockey, tennis, basketball, and swimming. I joined Voice K camp for two weeks this summer. During the two weeks, we interviewed people at the CNE; we learned to film and we did funny fake news reports and uploaded them to Youtube. I really like the fake news conferences we did; one topic was about Superman getting defeated by Darth Vader.
Hi everyone, my name is Dea, I am 8 years old. My name is not popular, I only knew one girl whose name sounded the same but she spelled it differently. Guess how I got this name; my Mom told me she found it on a website called babynames.com. It is a Greek Goddess name who was in charge of beauty. I go to Sommerville Manor School which is really close to Voice K. My favourite classes at school are Drama and Music, I love playing acting games with my Drama teacher. I live in Mississauga, Ontario. I like reading and all kinds of arts. I am a Ballet dancer; I had my fourth recital this year. I really enjoy putting on new costumes each year and dancing on the stage.
That is it, so far