The annul hard Cider Fest at Delicious Orchards approaches next Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited! The festival enters its 8th year and I’m their emcee again this year. Cider Fest is one of my “legacy” emcee gigs and selectively “cherry pick” (see what I did there) a few community events I want to continuing emceeing. The Hard Cider Fest is like a beer fest but with, well it’s obvious I suppose, cider instead of beer. For me it’s exciting since I’ve been gluten free since 2009 and not by choice. Big B’s, the brand full of apples from Delicious Orchards, makes some damn good ciders and their blood orange “Awesome Sauce” is a personal favorite.
The fest is in Paonia and the town is home to tons of other farms and orchards. The North Fork Valley is Just a few miles as the crow flies from my home in the Gunnison Valley but boasts downright balmy winter temperatures comparatively. So it’s nice to pop over the hills to warm your toes in the warmer climates when summer is still a few months away at 9,000 feet.
Tangent: My role for Cider Fest is to weave in humor and content from the mic and it’s pretty easy to do when you’re holding a mic in one hand and a Colorado cider in the other hand while enjoying live music. Through my research into happiness I get the bigger picture of festivals, events and conferences. Events like Cider Fest allow us to be nerds about things. We can talk about yeasts, back-sweetening, a billion different apples varieties, wild-fermentation…..and our brains love the dialogue. Oxytocin flows when we’re in our tribe of apple nerds and we need this more than ever as isolation is being recognized as both pervasive and a human health issue. Yes, you read that right. A human health issue!
Connecting and gathering remains important to human health. We need to gather more! Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities” uses the term co-creators to describe people who are the catalysts for events, gatherings and festivals. Co-creators do this for the love of their community and not the paycheck more often than not. Events are stressful and organizers should be appreciated and recognized to keep them inspired. The primary co-creators for Cider Fest are Lil McClure and Jeff Schwartz who do the bulk of the hustling. They’ll get numerous shout-outs from me on stage as my expression of gratitude and they’ll get a little boost of serotonin in the process for the recognition. Our brains love recognition and if you’re not stimulating this response in your workplace or your household you’re missing an opportunity to trigger some positive emotions. Be a co-creator and be a serotonin slinger!
Full-Circle: I’ll go to bed Saturday night after the fest with tired and dirty dancing feet, a little apple tipsy and happy from living a life that let’s me do what I’m good at in service to others. Oooh, that sounds like a workshop. I’ll treat myself to a Sunday brunch at the Delicious Orchards sourced from the North Fork Valley and fill my fridge with some blood orange infused treats for another time. Looking forward!
Anthony Poponi is an energetic presenter, a jokester from birth, and self-admitted lover of downtowns as much as wild spaces. He specializes in putting joy in our workplaces and in our communities through workshops and keynotes that leave his audiences buzzing. Being a hard act to follow on stage is always his goal.