Apple Cider Mill in Kansas Hosts Cider Festival

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The barn at Louisburg Cider Mill is more than 120 years old, and it was moved to the property and restored some 30 years ago by owners Tom and Shelly Schierman.
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Children and parents look through the pumpkin patch, as 2-year-old Camden, of Olathe, stops to enjoy his doughnut.

Every year when the crisp, cool breezes of autumn begin to blow, staffers at the Louisburg Cider Mill in Miami County, Kansas, gather thousands of apples for the annual Ciderfest and Craft Fair, held the last weekend of September and first weekend of October.

The event began more than 30 years ago when Tom and Shelly Schierman graduated from college and moved back to the Louisburg region. A friend from Michigan ran an apple cider mill, and the Schiermans were intrigued enough to begin their own purely as a hobby.

In the summer of 1978, the couple reconstructed a neighbor’s barn with authentic weathered wood next to their original barn and converted it into a country store. Looking for ways to increase business, they found that freshly squeezed apple cider not only tasted fantastic, it sold well in glass jars modeled after old-time jugs.

Every year, the annual Ciderfest kicks off the autumn season, and participation and the number of homemade items offered have increased.

Bluegrass, country and gospel bands play for the visitors as they stroll among the assortment of craft booths: hot, spicy kettle corn; soft, downy quilts; delicate, charming dolls; and autumn flower arrangements. Refreshments range from barbecue and smoked meats, roasted turkey leg or sandwich to hot dogs, with beverages from freshly squeezed lemonade, cool refreshing tea to the Cider Mill’s Lost Trail Root Beer and ciders.

Orange pumpkins atop yellow straw bales surround the entrance to the Louisburg Cider Mill barn. The sweet smell of freshly squeezed apples draws visitors to the barn, and glass windows allow a glimpse into the process of making cider as apples roll down a conveyor, into a shredder to produce apple pomace that is squeezed and the juice drained into tanks for storage.

On the other side of the barn’s open space, additional windows let visitors see inside the old “Country Store” where employees of the Louisburg Cider Mill demonstrate the making of fresh hot apple cider doughnuts. Inside the store, visitors purchase cider, fresh fruit, fruit butters and jellies locally made from organic ingredients, and variations of Sarsaparilla and Lost Trail Root Beer.

Tractor-drawn hay wagons navigate bumpy trails to the pumpkin patch where guests search for a perfect pumpkin, or to the corn maze that encompasses an 80-acre field. Other activities include moonwalks, pony rides and a petting zoo.

Autumn is incomplete for many Midwest residents until they make a visit to the renowned Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest. To learn more about the Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest or a list of products, go tothe Louisburg Cider Mill website or call toll-free 800-748-7765.

Louisburg attractions and fun facts

Local attractions:

? Historic downtown Louisburg

? Cedar Cove Feline Conservation Park, www.SaveOurSiberians.org

? Powell Observatory, Astronomical Society of Kansas City, www.ASKCOnline.org/powell.htm

? Four D Emu Farm, www.4DAcres.com

? Swan River Museum, Paola, Kansas, www.MiamiCountyKansasHistory.org

? Wallace Park at Osage Street and Wallace Park Drive

? Lake Miola at the north edge of Paola at 295th Street and Hedge Lane Road

Historical facts on Louisburg:

? Louisburg is the third largest town in Miami County.

? Originally, the name established in 1868 was St. Louis; however, to avoid confusion with the Missouri city, the name was changed to Louisburg in 1870.

? The origin of the landmark, The Louisburg Roundhouse at City Lake on South Metcalf, remains a mystery.

? Wea, Piankashaw, Peoria and Kaskaskia tribes moved to the area of Louisburg in 1827, only to be forced out a quarter of a century later.