Apple Day filled with delicious tradition

By Kristina Jackson

The tradition of baking fall apple pies continues this week at Fort Riley.

Soldiers and other volunteers from the community are baking pies for the Fall Apple Day Festival.

Beginning last Sunday, volunteers peeled apples and started mixing ingredients for the festival, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday at the Artillery Parade Field at Fort Riley.

The 28th annual Apple Day celebration is open to the public.

“We like to show post off,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Funk II, commander of the 1st Infantry Division.

“We’re proud of where we live. It’s your post, too, so come see it.”

Brenda Werner, president of the Historical and Archaeological Society of Fort Riley, said the idea for baking pies started when soldier spouses saw apples falling from trees on the post and thought they could put the fruit to good use. Now that the festival is approaching the end of its third decade, the pies are still filled with hand-peeled Granny Smith apples and hand-mixed filling.

“When I say they’re homemade, it’s really homemade,” Werner said.

Volunteers peel an estimated 17,000 apples for pies during the week leading up to the festival.

Pies are prepared in an assembly line for washing, peeling and mixing.

Werner said their goal for this year is 2,100 pies.

Soldiers from the Combat Aviation Brigade made a significant progress toward that goal when they helped make 327 pies Monday. Other members of the 1st Infantry Division helped with the preparation, as well.

Funk attended his only previous Apple Day two years ago and said he thinks it’s a fantastic tradition at Fort Riley. Funk said that like being in the Army, the festival is a chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself, especially when people from all over the Flint Hills area —at least 7,000 are expected – come to the base’s largest annual open house. “What I love most is the ability to give back to Fort Riley,” Werner said. “All the proceeds we turn around to preserve the historical nature of Fort Riley.”

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