Harcourt Applefest returns, celebrating harvest time in the heart of Victoria’s apple country

Harcourt Applefest returns, celebrating harvest time in the heart of Victoria’s apple country

She'll be apples this month.

Is there any fruit more versatile than the humble apple? Apple crumble, apple pie, baked apple, apple muffins, apple cider, apple whiskey, apple sauce, just a damn apple on its own… you really can’t beat it when you’re looking for that perfect low-calorie, fat-free, high fiber, flavourful, sweet, crunchy, juicy, satisfying snack for any time of day.

A nod to all the Gala’s, Fuji’s and Granny Smith’s out there, the Harcourt Applefest is back for 2021, celebrating harvest time in the heart of Victoria’s apple country.

The key takeaways

  • Applefest returns to Harcourt this weekend
  • Applefest is a celebration of harvest time in the heart of Victoria’s apple country.
  • The festival events take place from March 6 until March 21

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Located in central Victoria, just northeast of Castlemaine, Harcourt is a town renowned for its goldrush and apple growing history, making it the perfect destination to tip your hat to the humble fruit.

Held on the long weekend in March each year, the festival has evolved into a massive community event that welcomes an increasing number of visitors from near and far. This year marks the festival’s 28th annual Applefest and will see an extended series of celebrations, reimagining the usual format into a Covid-friendly edition, with all event requiring pre-purchased tickets.

Kicking off on Saturday, March 6, the warm air will effervesce with cider fizz as the apple celebrations begin with the much-loved Applefest Market. With apples being the star, the market will include a fresh collection of Harcourt apples, local produce, fruit growers’ display, free children’s activities, and live music. Your ticket to the Harcourt Applefest Market (don’t stress, it’s just $5) includes free access to the Art show, which is also open March 7, 8, 13 and 14 and showcases small works paintings, top-shelf exhibitors and high-quality artworks.

Those attending will also have the opportunity to view immersive on-site experiences and displays at Victorian Miniature Railway and scenic winery and cidery cellar doors throughout the valley.

One of the event’s major highlights (and our personal favourite) is of course the baking competition, where prizes are awarded for apple chutney, apple cake, apple muffins and apple pie. There’s even a special division for the young bakers to show off their skills so make sure you head on down and suss out who’s slinging the best apple pies in town.

If you prefer your apples alcoholic (and who doesn’t!?), you’ll of course be able to sample some of Harcourt’s craft apple ciders, as well as craft beers and wine from around the region.

Continuing the celebrations, Applefest will be running an organic farming co-op tour on Monday, March 8. Taking guests through Sellar Farmhouse Creamery micro-dairy, Gung Hoe Growers market garden, Tellurian Fruit Gardens orchard and Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery, this offers a rare opportunity to see what enthusiasm and hard work can achieve. A must for folk starting out in small-scale horticulture and farming. As expected, there is a limit on numbers for this event.

The following weekend will be a special evening celebration in the valley with an open-air storytelling event taking over the football oval. Titled Indigenous Stargazing, the event will see an indigenous elder explain aboriginal use of the sky as a link to stories of long ago and as a guide to the approach of the seasons and changing food sources. Proceeds will go to Nalderun and initiatives for local indigenous youth.

Rounding out the Applefest celebrations, the will also be limited tickets to a Granite Houses tour. Running on Sunday, March 21, the tour will take guests to three of the distinctive granite homes of the Harcourt Valley. These are private homes—not normally open to the public – and will offer an insight into the history of the dwellings and the practical issues involved in use of local stone.

There really will be something for everyone at this year’s AppleFest – especially ones who like apples.

For further information or to book tickets, visit the website. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre in Mostyn Street.