Volunteers with the festival pose for a photo at the end of the festival. The festival ran from Sept. 14-22 in Telkwa. Festival organizer Laurie Gallant told The Interior News the festival was not just about apples as a food source, but also about broader topics such as food security and the necessity of making sure apple trees are picked once they start bearing fruit. (Facebook photo)

Inaugural Telkwa festival celebrates apples

The festival focused on topics such as food security and bear safety

This year’s first ever Telkwa Apple Festival was a triple threat.

The eight-day long festival finished up on Sunday, with a second apple pressing and juicing at St. Stephen’s Church in Telkwa.

There were also games, presentations and local music throughout the day.

Throughout the week the festival featured a number of apple-related events and talks on things such as bear safety.

Festival organizer Laurie Gallant told The Interior News the festival was not just about apples as a food source, but also about broader topics such as food security and the necessity of making sure apple trees are picked once they start bearing fruit.

Gallant mentioned a personal interest of hers is how climate change could affect bear behavior and how apples grow in the region.

“Will the hibernation period of bears start to change if the winter is shorter and milder?”

Gallant also discussed a third element of community building.

Many of the apples juiced at the festival were picked by volunteers.

This was done, in part, thanks to a database of apple trees in Telkwa previously compiled by Sarah Milner.

Gallant also said the non-profit BV Groundbreakers is teaming up with Telkwa Elementary School to get students to pick apple trees in the neighbourhood.

“We really wanted to get the message out there that it’s normal behavior now to pick your apples and it’s really not socially acceptable anymore to just leave them on the tree, especially when we have volunteers available to pick them for you.”

Gallant also expressed gratitude to Dawn Hanson, a resident who has been essential both in securing funding for this year’s festival from the The Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest Corporation (WCFC) and in laying down the groundwork for the festival in previous years.

Hanson works as the secretary treasurer for the Telkwa Community Initiative Society (TCIS).

“They help to organize different projects for Telkwa that the Village just doesn’t have the capacity to do and community building events that just wouldn’t happen if there weren’t people like them doing it,” said Gallant.

The Village previously had a one-day juicing event last year, on which Gallant said this event builds.

Gallant said she is interested in taking the Apple Festival on the road next year.

“The vision is that for next year we would have a tour where we bring our apple press, hopefully two, to each community and just have, like, a valley-wide event on different days.”

She would also like to add a part to the program showing people how to prune their own fruit trees.

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