“We take for granted that children don’t actually get read to at night when they get home,” Erway said. “It’s something that doesn’t happen much anymore with all the video games and everybody being so busy. We just thought it would be great for them to come in, get a book and have someone take the time to sit down and read with them. Hopefully that’s something their parents can continue to do at home.”
The club has held Applefest at the Fly Creek Cider Mill for the past 16 years.
“We supply them with a lot of stuff, but it’s totally their festival,” Bill Michaels, co-owner of the Fly Creek Cider Mill, said about the Cooperstown Rotary Club. “They make about $20,000 a year off of it.”
The Fly Creek Cider Mill’s cider press runs during the event.
“It’s an 1889 water-powered, water-hydraulic cider press installed here from the Boomer and Boschert Company in Syracuse, New York,” Michaels said. “We make all of our cider on it on weekends, generally from Labor Day through just before Thanksgiving.”
The mill is making improvements to the press this year. The turbine is being restored and the holding tank is being newly fabricated.
People who visit the mill have an the opportunity to learn how the cider is made from mill employees who talk them through the process as it is happening.
Michaels says the building always had a cider mill, but at one time it also had a grist mill upstairs and a wood shop with a water-powered jigsaw downstairs. The jigsaw is responsible for a lot of the decorative pieces that can be seen on the houses around Fly Creek.
“We’re the last of, I think, eight mills on Fly Creek,” Michaels commented. “Fly Creek was a lot more easy to control than the Susquehanna because it’s smaller. This was the furthest north mill so if this mill was processing then the next mill was processing because they’d shoot the water to one another.”
Besides being able to witness the cider press in action the approximately 5,000 people who attended Applefest this past weekend were also able to make themselves a scarecrow, listen to live music, play carnival games, and participate in the silent auction or the raffle of gift baskets.