Highlights of the 2023 Gravenstein Apple Fair
- Years Celebrated: 50
- Attendees: 14,500
- States Represented: 26
- Countries Represented: 8
- Waste Diverted from Landfill: 95%
- Recyclables: 18 cubic yards
- Compostables: 12 cubic yards
- Surplus Food Donated to Food Banks: 433 pounds
- Food Discards Fed to Local Pigs: 8,000 pounds
- Landfill: Only 3 cubic yards (size of a standard pickup truck bed)
Bushels of thanks to everyone who joined us at the 2023 Gravenstein Apple Fair! We enjoyed celebrating our milestone with you!
The Gravenstein Apple Fair is the primary annual fundraiser for Sonoma County Farm Trails, a nonprofit whose mission is to keep “farms forever” in Sonoma County. This year marked the 50th anniversary of both Farm Trails and GAF, and the theme, accordingly, was celebrating our “Golden Anniversary.” Highlights of our anniversary offerings included the large golden apple sculptures throughout Ragle Park, an installation (adjacent to the Sonoma County Tourism Life Opens Up Lounge) with blown-up archival photos, and a timeline banner depicting major ag benchmarks from 1973 to date, a golden apple costume contest, a “Life on the Farm” panel of experts hosted by local radio personality Clark Wolf discussing the last 50 years in food/farming/ag, and stage presentations of 3 resolutions in honor of the major milestone (Gold Resolution from Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Joint Resolution from CA State Senate (Sen. McGuire) and Assembly (Rep. Wood), and a Congressional Record Statement from Congressman Huffman).
We welcomed 14,500 people to the Fair over the course of two days, who enjoyed fabulous local food, farmers, chefs, libations, and, of course, all things Gravenstein spotlighted this year in our new “Apple Alley.” The weekend was a grand community convergence with robust programming, stellar entertainment, 99 curated local vendors, and lots of engaging offerings for all ages. Highlights and dynamic venues included an elevated VIP/Artisan Tasting Alley experience (featuring bites and sips from 35 local producers), Life on the Farm Exhibit (farm animals, demonstrations and presentations by experts, Ag Games, Old Engines Display, etc.), Kids’ Area (contests, games, arts & crafts activities, stilt walkers, giant bubbles, hay pyramid, etc.), live music on 2 stages (15 bands), the return of the popular apple pie baking contest with celebrity judges, additional shade structures, more picnic tables and seating, and bustling craft cider, beer, and wine tents featuring top-shelf local libations.
The Gravenstein Apple Fair was recently awarded the first-ever Green Resolution from Zero Waste Sonoma for “outstanding commitment and leadership in waste reduction and environmental stewardship in our county.” Our staffed Zero Waste stations diverted over 95% of discards from the landfill, making this our greenest event yet. Over the course of the weekend, we collected 433 pounds of quality leftover food (delivered to shelters and food banks); 8,000 pounds of pig food (for a local farmer); 12 cubic yards of truly compostable products; 18 cubic yards of recycling; and only 3 cubic yards of garbage (the back of a standard pickup truck!). In contrast, a study by Powerful Thinking found that a single festival with 20,000 attendees can accumulate up to 100 tons of waste, most of which ends up in landfills.
Due to our impressive metrics, many other events and municipalities have reached out to our team for guidance and inspiration. We are happy to share the key ingredients for producing Zero Waste events and hope that others will emulate our process.
We couldn’t have accomplished our Zero Waste goals without the help of our dedicated volunteers who run the greening stations, the support of our service providers, and all of our amazing fairgoers. We can’t wait to implement even more changes to get closer to 100% Zero Waste next year.
With the help of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, we were able to measure the Fair’s economic impact on our local community and beyond. Thanks to those who filled out our exit survey for contributing to the economic impact report below!
We look forward to seeing you again at the Fair on August 10 & 11, 2024!