The Gravenstein apples are back, but the pandemic has again put a halt on the apple fair that coincides with it; instead, the Sonoma County Farm Trails is hosting the Gravenstein Apple Fair Benefit Concert Aug. 14 at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol to raise funds in hopes to bring back the fair in 2022.
The benefit concert, which will take place on a Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., will include bulk apples and apple products to be purchased as well as live music, farm-to-table local food and premium refreshments. All tickets are available solely online at farmtrails.org, with all proceeds going towards keeping the Gravenstein Apple Fair alive and thriving after the pandemic forced cancellations the last two years.
Sonoma County Farm Trails, a nonprofit organization, started to create a map and guide for local agriculture over four decades ago. In 1973, before Farmers’ Markets and campaigns promoting shopping locally, Farm Trails began producing the Gravenstein Apple Fair as their primary fundraiser to support diversified agriculture and “keeping farms forever” in Sonoma County. The fair typically garners around 15,000 attendees, whereas the concert will only allow a fraction of that.
“There are many ways that Farm Trails supports preserving diversified agriculture, but one of the main ones is to do scholarships for young farmers and for people wanting to continue their education in agriculture,” said Holly Hansen, a publicist for Farm Trails.
After the pandemic forced a cancellation of the fair in 2020, Farm Trails’ members closely monitored county guidelines to decide when they could offer a public outdoor event.
At the benefit concert, the musical lineup includes the indie folk-rock band the T Sisters and the bluegrass group the Whiskey Family Band with Alison Harris. Also, the New Orleans style blues group the Beau Beau Trio featuring members of the California Honeydrops and the funk-infused rock band Burnside will perform as well as the band Solorio, who will be joined by Rep. Jared Huffman, D.
Local food vendors include Black Piglet food truck, Fork Restaurant food truck, Handline, Mom’s Apple Pie, Sonoma County Farm Trails Fritters, Dutton Ranch Organic Gravenstein Apples and North Coast Organic Gravenstein Apple Cider and Sauce.
Tickets are available only online and will be sold until Aug. 12. General admission tickets are $75 and come with a commemorative glass. A limited number of $60 tickets are reserved for Sebastopol residents by entering your zip code when purchasing tickets at farmtrails.org.
Children 6 and under will receive free admission.
They also offer VIP tickets for $1,200 that will provide attendees with a table for eight, parking close to the entrance, complimentary food and drink delivered to your table and a selection of meals from local restaurant partners. VIP tickets are nearly sold out.
“The ticket prices are higher. They reflect that it is a fundraiser, I mean, it is always a fundraiser, but it’s a different type this year. And to honor the local Sebastopolians at the request of the city council to have some preference to locals, we’ve offered a $15 discount for people that live in the Sebastopol area,” said Carmen Snyder, executive director of Sonoma County Farm Trails, at the Sebastopol city council meeting July 28.
Parking is free, but Farm Trails recommends carpooling as space is limited. They will open parking at 10 a.m. to minimize any back up into town. They will let attendees enter the park at 10:30 a.m. to find their seats with lots of distanced seating options, according to Snyder.
All ticket sales are final.