ARCHBOLD, Ohio — Sauder Village is hosting special events all weekend to celebrate some of the first harvests of the fall: apples.
The 140-year-old cider press grinds together sweet and tart apples and squeezes out cider the old-fashioned way, and it can only be seen doing so one week a year.
Sauder Village Education Specialist Gail Richardson said in pioneer days, apple cider was more than a seasonal drink; it was a vital part of frontier life.
"Mom needed about 300 gallons of cider for the year for multiple purposes," Richardson said. "When you had a cider mill come to your community, the folks were ecstatic. It cut back on time, cost and labor, because historically, if you didn't have a mill in your community, guess what you were doing? You were doing (it) by hand with a hand press."
Every year, Sauder village celebrates the importance of apples in the community's history by showcasing all the ways the fruit was used.
"We've all drank from wells that have already been dug," Richardson said. "And this here, you get the connections from the past to the present and it's so vitally important that we keep that history for the future generations."
Sauder Village spokesperson Kim Krieger said the first-hand experience of how cider used to be made will hopefully hammer home how much work went into making something that nowadays, can be grabbed at a grocery store without a second thought.
"Our students and young children have a greater appreciation for just how hard our pioneer ancestors had to work," she said.
Along with cider pressing demonstrations, visitors will also experience apple cooking demonstrations in historic homes, apple drying and apple crafts.
And a trip to Sauder village in the fall wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Doughbox Bakery, which now features apple fritters, apple doughnuts, apple cookies and apple coffee cake.
"You know today, fall apple festivals are really a wonderful way to celebrate the beauty of fall. And that's true here at Sauder Village as well," Krieger said.
Apple Week at Sauder Village runs through Saturday at 5 p.m.