Blossom Fest starts with cider

Hard-Pressed Fest in Odell celebrates valley’s burgeoning libation industry

It is blossom time again, and Hood River Blossom Festival starts off Saturday with a new event: Hard-Pressed Cider Fest, noon to 6 p.m. in Odell.

For the second year, the Chamber of Commerce presents Blossom Fest for three weeks instead of just one weekend, to take advantage of the full extent of the flowering of the pear, apple and cherry trees that grace the valley all this month.

Panorama, the Hood River News’ annual special section, returns April 12 with its full list of Blossom events, and a feature on the Cider Fest, held about 10 minutes south of Hood River at Mt. Defiance Cold Storage.

The event will feature 40 or so artisan ciders from 11 Oregon cideries — over a third of which are from the Hood River Valley. Guests will also get to enjoy a menu of local cuisines from smoked barbecue to American pub fare to gluten-free and vegetarian dishes, produce and arts vendors, a kids area, and a lineup of local music with genres that range from bluegrass to classic rock.

“We are very excited about the expanding cider industry in the area, the Hard-Pressed Cider Fest is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the art of cider making,” said Ashley Huckaby May, event coordinator for the chamber of commerce, which is putting on the cider fest. “We hope to see the event grow exponentially in the next few years.”

The name of the event is in reference to the ages-old act of pressing apples, which creates juice that is later fermented into cider.

Cider Fest Facts

WHEN: Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Mt. Defiance Cold Storage, 3351 Stadelman Drive, Odell, just off Highway 35 — look for the “Cider Fest” signs

Updated cidery list: Atlas Cider, Portland; Bull Run Cider, Forest Grove;

Carlton Cyderworks,

Carlton; Fox-Tail Cider, Odell; Gorge Cyder House, Hood River; Gorge White House, Pine Grove; Hood Valley Hard Cider Co., Parkdale; Portland Cider Company, Portland

Rack and Cloth, Mosier

Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Portland; Two Towns Cider, Corvallis

COST: $10 for ages 21+ (includes glass and four 3-oz. taste tokens)

Free for those under age 21 and designated drivers.

PARKING: At Mt. Defiance and neighboring areas; look for parking helpers.

FOOD VENDORS: Apple Valley BBQ, Nouveau Raw and Oldfather Farms, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Columbia Cochon featuring Pine Street Bakery rolls, Cascadia Creamery, Ryan’s Juice, and Gorge Grown.

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