Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Cider Festivals

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The weather is on the edge of turning, and at some markets, the first gourds are starting to take over where summer berries left off. And while cider is a year-round beverage, there is no better time to rekindle your love for our gluten-free friend than in the upcoming Autumn months.

Here's our guide to a few of the best cider events coming up around the country.

Washington Cider Week

September 5th to 15th
More cideries have opened in the Pacific Northwest this year than in any other part of America. This exponential growth, coupled with the recent opening of cider bar Capital Cider means all eyes are on Washington state as a hotbed for American cider. Washington Cider Week is the Evergreen State's chance to live up to the hype.

Centered around Seattle, the highlights of Washington Cider Week include the chance to sample over 100 ciders at the Northwest Cider Summit festival, a cider-themed cocktail trail, a cider crawl through Capital Cider, Pine Box, Stumbling Monk and more, and a guided tasting through Washington ciders hosted by yours truly. Event website

6th Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival

September 7th
The midwest's largest cider festival features more than 100 different ciders from the Great Lakes region. Held annually at Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns, Michigan, $15 gets you entry into the festival, a commemorative glass, and 10 sample pours with more available for purchase. The event takes place from 2 to 7 p.m. and include local musicians to keep the party going. Event website

Finger Lakes Cider Week

October 4th to 13th
Now in its second year, the Finger Lakes Cider Alliance sets out once again to celebrate the ciders of northwest New York. Finger Lakes Cider Week is still getting their calendar together, but keep an eye on the event website for a list of events and participating cider makers.

New York Cider Week

October 18th to 27th
Aside from Washington State, no cider scene is expanding faster than New York's. This year's 3rd annual Cider Week features several new producers alongside guests from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Virginia. Activities span beyond the Big Apple to include a cider crawl in Beacon, NY and a kickoff event at Glynwood in Cold Spring. Closer to the metropolis, there is an extensive tasting with most of the region's producers at Williamsburg's Smorgasburg and a goat pairing at Bushwick hotspot Roberta's. Check out the event website closer to Cider Week for a full list of events.

Franklin County Cider Days

November 3rd and 4th
Cider Days in Franklin County, Massachusetts is the grandaddy of cider events in America. Back when everyone else was packing up Jonagolds for the market, these guys were pressing local apples, talking root stocks, and celebrating the fall harvest. The 19th annual celebration features a locavore diner, orchard tours, a Spanish Sidra tasting, and the annual cider salon. Cider Days is a great place to rub shoulders with apple historian Tom Burford, cider-evangelist Ben Watson, and British cider journalist Bill Bradshaw. Cider Days is also the most family friendly event on this list, offering sweet cider tastings, apple tastings, and other activities accommodating those underage. Event website

Virginia Cider Week

November 15th to 23rd
Maybe it's the Southern hospitality, but no cider community feels more close knit than the one in Virginia. VA Cider Week is their annual opportunity to share this spirit with the rest of the country. Split between Richmond and Charlottesville, the festival features a Hill and Holler farm dinner with some of the state's best chefs, an outdoor cider celebration at Castle Hill Cider, home cider-making workshops, and the annual "North/South Cider Smackdown." Event website

Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer

November 16th
While heavily focused on barrel-aged craft beers, this year's Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer has opened its arms to welcome the American cider community. Open to cider-makers across the country, it will be interesting to see which producers pour at this renowned festival. Keep an eye on their site for more updates as the event approaches.

About the author: Christopher Lehault is a New Jersey-based cider journalist, craft beer documentarian, and home brewer. Follow his cider adventures on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

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