Sep 29, 2011 7:46 PM by David Ortiviz

Bad apple crop season doesn't ruin festival

It's apple picking season, but folks in Penrose are dealing with a sour situation. A late spring frost ruined a lot of the crop, which has hurt sales and tourism. However, just days before the town's big apple festival, neighbors in Fremont County have banded together.

Every fall tourists pack Penrose for a taste of juicy hand-picked apples, but it's not a good view, when you look at the orchards this year. "None of the orchards here have apples except for Happy Apple and he doesn't have that many," said Misty Dawn, with the Penrose Chamber of Commerce. "We had blooms all over all of our trees then we had a freeze and it killed all of them," he added.

Apple Valley Orchard's website says: "CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. Due to a late frost this spring, we don't have any apples to pick,"

The Third Street Apples website reads: "No Apple Crop Due To Freeze in May Closed for the 2011 Season,"

Dawn says as a result of the bad apple crop season all businesses in town are hurting.
"(Main) street would certainly be a lot busier. It's just been really slow," said Dawn.

"It certainly has impacted us," said Barbara Martin who runs the Gooseberry Patch restaurant in Penrose.

The town wasn't just worried about sales. A 76-year annual festival was in jeopardy. Saturday is Apple Day in Penrose. Thousands of people show up and the Penrose chamber traditionally gives away slices of apple pie. "I hate to see things like that end," said Martin.

So the community stepped up. "Everybody pulls together that's why I love it here," said Dawn.

Colon Orchard in Canon City donated 32 boxes of apples, Barbara Martin volunteered to bake 200 pies and another 40 apple cobbler dishes will be baked at the nearby federal prison complex in Florence.

"I think it's a community mindset of let's band together, let's help one another, let's keep this piece of Americana going," said Martin.

The Apple Day festival runs this Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Penrose.

By the way, some orchards in nearby Canon City have a good crop of apples this year.



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