By Abigail Amato
The inaugural Apple Country Cider Jam in downtown Hendersonville takes place on Saturday, April 22, from 1–6 p.m. A ticketed tasting event, it will feature hard cider samples, local food trucks and restaurants and a lineup of great music.
“The idea of promoting cider, produced from our very own apples, seemed like a natural fit and a further extension of the well-known NC Apple Festival held in the fall,” says Mark Williams, executive director of Agribusiness Henderson County. “Others around us have had similar events, mostly as fundraisers, but ours takes place right at the source of apples and home to many of the cider producers. We expect the event to start small and grow to a large annual spring festival that folks all around ‘Apple Country’ will want to attend.”
Headlining the live music will be Balsam Range, the Haywood County band that has earned numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards and released five critically acclaimed albums. Underhill Rose, an all-female Americana band, and the Josh Daniel- Mark Schimick Project, a string band blending bluegrass, reggae, soul and rock, will also take the stage.
The new event hopes to lay the foundation for a springtime tradition showcasing the most prominent industry in Henderson County: apples. “It will create a great new event for a time of year when there is not so much happening,” says Williams. “We hope folks will come from all over, but especially the Southeast, to enjoy a fun and tasteful (pun intended) event.”
As the apple capital of the South, Henderson County serves as the predominant apple source for cideries across North Carolina. “Cider has been a national trend in recent years, piggybacking off of the craft beer industry, although it dates back to the earliest settlers,” says Williams. “It’s only natural that we would join the excitement associated with the resurgence of this popular and refreshing beverage. It fits well with the persona of our area and the vibrant tourism industry we already enjoy.”
Participating cideries include 1898 Waverly Inn Hard Cider, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Burntshirt Vineyards, Flat Rock Ciderworks, Noble Cider and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards. Food vendors are Season’s at Highland Lake, The Vintner’s Table, Amazing Pizza Company, Prime Time Eats, Fields of Gold and The Chub Wagon.
Home to 200 apple growers, Henderson County grows 85 percent of the state’s apples.
Advance and day-of-event tickets are $25, with $10 no-alcohol tickets available. For tickets and additional information, call 828.697.4543 or see visithendersonvillenc.com/ciderjam.