By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
Sixty of the 69 years that there’s been an Applefest, Bauer’s Market has been a part of it.
“We’ve always tried to be as much of an asset as we can,” said Bauer’s owner Bruce Bauer. “It’s four big days for people to come to town and there is a lot to do.”
Over the many years, Bruce and his family have been as big of a part of the weekend of events as they can.
This year is no different.
Bauer’s continues to support the queen coronation event, as well as lends apples to the golf tournament where the golfers take the time to smash them.
They also supply cider and help with various decorations all around the town as it spruces up for its annual celebration.
Which is very popular all around the Coulee Region.
“I spoke to a lady who is from out of the area, and she said ‘she just loves coming over for Applefest,’” noted Bauer. “She loves the small town, loves the parade. Octoberfest parade is three and a half hours long, this one, she said, is just right.”
It is the variety, Bauer believes, that makes the event so special to folks around the area.
Of course Applefest just wouldn’t be the same without the fresh picked apples that make up the La Crescent area.
Bauer’s has Honey Crisp, Macintosh, Sweet Tango, Pazazz and other varieties available.
“The University of Minnesota is a leader amongst the breeding of apples,” Bauers said. “They, along with Cornell University out east, are always coming up with new crosses.”
Bauer stays up on all of the latest types and passes them along to his customers.
Riverbelle, which was bred by Doug Schefelbine, a grower outside of Holmen, who crossed a Fireside with a Honey Crisp.
“It’s less than five years old and already has a good following,” Bauer said.
In response to the public’s demand, Bauer said he is looking forward to stocking the new “Premier Honey Crisp” which will be ready two weeks earlier than the traditional Honey Crisp.
Those won’t be ready until 2018 but they’re sure to be a big hit and Bauer’s Market is sure to stock them when the come available.
The family run business will have specials on five pound bags and three pound bags all Applefest weekend long. They will have taste tests and other specials throughout the store.
“There are a lot of people who put in a lot of hard work to pull this thing off,” Bauer said.
Both of his daughters were involved with the queen coronation and Bruce is so touched by the numerous people who come back to the store from well outside of the area to share their personal, warm memories of his mother and father and Bauer’s market.
“A lot of folks come back and have so many nice things to say about their memories associated with our store,” Bauer said. “I have a young man who is in his mid-to-late 30’s and he comes back now with his three kids in toe and says that one of his favorite memories of Applefest is shopping here at the store so he is passing that tradition on to his family. That means a lot to us.”
Bauer points to his employees who are so loyal and supportive of the business and have been for many, many years.
“We wouldn’t be here without them,” he said.
Applefest is about enjoying the harvest and the “fruits” of the labor.
“So many people work so hard in our area to bring not only the celebration, but they work hard to bring a bountiful harvest each year,” Bauer said. “For me, Applefest is about family, the harvest and hard work. It’s about time to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy the hard work of a good harvest.”