Cider Days brings out town

Crafty Fun Attendees take in live music Saturday at Cider Days festival. The festival is an annual event attended by people from all around the midwest.

For every season, there are traditions in most communities. With the chill of fall descending on Topeka, the community came together to celebrate with fun and something warm to sip on.

For the last 30 years, Topekans have enjoyed Cider Days, a show of what regional merchants have to offer combined with arts and entertainment. Originally started as a crafts show in Lake Perry, Kan., near an apple cider maker’s home, the festival moved to Topeka and finally settled in the Kansas Expocentre in 1987.

“I’ve been coming to these things since the late 80s,” said Jim Copeland, Topeka resident. “It seems like it gets bigger every year. It’s just great to see the community come out and support local people.”

The festival had its share of interesting items from all over the state and region. Artists who create unique items from chainsaw sculptures to various beadwork booths, showed off and sold their wares.

“I try to make it to a lot of these types of things throughout the year,” said Blair Smith, owner of B&R Chainsaw Sculptures. “We travel from our home in northwestern Iowa to show what we make and give people the chance to support artists like myself. It’s great to see a town like Topeka support people who put a lot of time in and make some really interesting things.”

The festival also featured an apple press, providing attendees a chance to enjoy a fresh cup of cider.

Beyond the various items vendors, there were also opportunities to support the local arts with performers of all ages from the Beverly Bernardi Post School of Dance and Pom showing off their dance skills.

“These children are just so precious,” said Gail Evans, Topeka resident. “I am so glad to see these kids getting a chance to do something positive for the community. This gives them a sense of self worth and keeps them from getting caught up in things that they shouldn’t be doing.”

The performances ranged in diversity from traditional cheerleading, to dance team inspired shows to a tap dancing young woman who mesmerized the audience.

“It’s so cool,” said Laura Brandt, 9-year-old Topeka resident. “It makes me want to dance too.”

Brandt, along with other younger members of the community look forward to the future of Cider Days and getting the chance to come back next year.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Brandt. “I want to come back next year and ride the camels again.”