Fall is officially here once again, and means running down the list of our annual fall traditions. First up, of course, is the Applejack Festival down in Nebraska City. We got up (relatively) early on Saturday morning to make the pancake breakfast at the firehouse, catching a few flapjacks flung by Jim Kuper the Pancake Man and saying hello to the Lenart Family, who came by for a “fun run” that got rained out. The rain actually came down in torrents to start but gradually cleared up as we finished off a few plates of pancakes and sausage.
We wandered down Central Ave. and joined Jenny, Kody, and the extended Arnold Clan at their usual spot down by the Public Restrooms to watch the Applejack Parade. We hadn’t actually gone to watch the parade since 2008, when I think the never-ending chain of Shriners scared us off to other attractions. This time around, however, we had Hannah and a cluster of Jenny’s nieces (and a nephew, I think) all vying to grab candy as it was tossed by various cultural and political emissaries that came marching our way (among the high/middle school marching bands). She also discovered the joy of getting soaked by running through puddles left from the morning rain. That was a lovely parental milestone to enjoy (once she dried out).
After the parade, we grabbed a couple corn dogs for lunch and then squeezed our way up Arbor and Centennial Ave. with a slog of horrible traffic to make our way to Kimmel Orchard. Hannah got to have her first solo pony ride out back, which seemed to make her very proud of herself. Then we trudged through the orchard for a bit to try filling an $8 half-peck bag with apples. Most of the trees seemed to have shed all their fruit onto the ground, but we were still able to find a good batch of apples to pick before calling it a day.
On Sunday after church, we took Hannah and Aaron off to Gifford Farm for their Fall Festival. Hannah hadn’t been there since last October, so she got to enjoy a good run around the place — sliding into hay, riding on the hayrack, decorating a cookie, playing some instruments, and even petting a snake. She also got to have her hair dyed pink at the end of the day, which she seemed to think was pretty funny. Aaron had never been to the farm before, but he was too little to do much more than peek over his overalls to see what was going on.