8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Apple Festival


You can buy apple trees at the festival

It’s the 26th annual Apple Festival! It’s a fundraising event to support the educational, research, and community programs that take place at the UBC Botanical Garden. Over the years, the Apple Festival has become a quintessential fall event that brings together the UBC community and draws people in from across Vancouver.


We got the chance to speak to Margaret Butschler, a long-time volunteer from Friends of the Garden and one of the two main apple buyers for the Festival. As an apple buyer, she heads up the Okanagan months in advance of the event in search of the best apples from the most dependable growers to showcase at the festival. This year marks Margaret’s 10-year anniversary helping out with the event. From talking to her, it was obvious that she is incredibly passionate about seeing the Apple Festival come to life every October. 


Here are 8 things that Margaret wants you to know about the Apple Festival:


1. They have pears too!

In addition to 68 apple varieties, there are 6 pear varieties that’ll make an appearance at the Festival.


Apple Festival volunteers

2. The cider is top-notch

They’ll have a live demonstration of the cider-making process so you know just how it’s done. And don’t forget to try the apple rings, chips, pies, and juice. You’ll want to take some home.


3. The Apple Festival hasn’t missed a single year in 26 years

Rain or shine, this event is on every year. Even in last year’s storm, they found a way to power through it, and guests still came out to enjoy the event. Read how it went last year.


4. Over 600 volunteers help out every year

People from all over the city sign up to help out at the Apple Festival. They tirelessly help bag and weigh the apples for sale that come by the truck-full. You’ll find a lot of eager students from the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems helping out over the days.


5. There’s going to be a giant leaf pile to jump in

Leaves from all over the garden have been collected just to create this massive pile! Get ready to release your inner child and dive in.


Over 60 varieties of apples will be available at the tasting test

6. This year, they’ll have food trucks in the mix along with live music and entertainment

There’ll be something for everyone. And check out the diverse line up of performers they have scheduled to take the stage.



7. When the Apple Festival started in 1991, it was only a day-long event

Over the years, the popularity of the event grew so they had to expand it to two days with longer hours. In 2011, they had a record number of festival-goers. Over 12,000 people went out to the Apple Festival over that weekend!


8. The Apple Tasting Tent is definitely worth it!

For $5, you get the chance to try rare and unique apples that you can’t find at a local grocery store. Be sure to get there early to try out Cox’s Orange Pippin (one of Margaret’s favourites!) before they run out. It’s a crisp and aromatic apple – sweet, yet slightly acid.



For full details on the event, visit the UBC Botanical Garden’s page. Swing by this Saturday or Sunday, October 14 – 15 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm and delight yourself in apple goodness. You don’t want to miss out of this 26-year-strong UBC community tradition.