The gloriously tasty and tantalizing cider donut: Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest 2011


“Turn! Turn here!” I said, and my husband managed to bring the truck to a stop on K-68 quickly enough that we didn’t overshoot the entrance to the Louisburg Cider Mill parking lot. We were getting better. After nine years, we were finally turning into the parking lot on the first try.

We pulled on to patch of mowed grass that served as the temporary parking lot. I remembered to bring my camera this year. Despite the lack of rain, we were having the most beautiful fall weather–a perfect day for an outdoor festival.

The pumkin patch in front of the 120-year-old barn that now serves as the Louisburg Cider Mill.

The first year, we were a couple celebrating our first anniversary, and we were too broke to travel far from home. We climbed into the car and made the 90 minute drive to Louisburg to spend some time together in the sunshine. What we discovered was a wonderful little festival: lots of venders, families, pumpkins, bluegrass music, and cider and cider donuts that came directly from heaven.

What started out as a cheap day trip turned into an annual pilgrimage.

The Louisburg Cider Mill was once an old, abandoned hay barn. In the 1970s, Tom and Shelly Schierman bought the property and restored the old barn in 1977 and pressed their first jug of cider that fall.  By 1978, they reconstructed another old barn to create a country store. Today, many Kansans know the best time to head for the mill is during Ciderfest.

During the entire drive to Louisburg, all I can think about is getting my hands on a fresh batch of cider donuts.

“Donuts, music, or vendors?” I asked as we walked down the dusty lane of parked cars to the Ciderfest.

“Let’s see whose playing now, and then decide,” Jim said. The bands were between sets, so we cruised the best collection of vendors we could remember seeing at the Ciderfest.

Not for me, but totally adorable.

Some old-timey herbs and medicinals from Watkins.

Almost too pretty to eat: cupcakes from Sugar Pearl Cupcakes.

As we weaved in and out of the dense crowds, we made it back to the hay bails in front of the stage just in time to hear one of our favorite local bands, Bluestem, start their set. The guys of Bluestem are as much a part of our pilgrimage as the donuts. They were on stage that first year, and they’ve been on stage every year since. Jim Rood, a fiddler and vocalist, saw us sit down and smiled at us.

“It’s the folks from Emporia,” he said. “We were wondering about you!”

Bluestem stem members Jim Rood (fiddle), Keith Alberding (banjo), Marvin Pine and Woody the Wonder Bass, and Rick Marshall on guitar.

After Bluestem finished their set, we headed for the food.

Everyone else had the same idea.

The line for fresh cider and cider donuts. Once you've tried a Louisburg cider donut, you'll wonder how you ever did without.

My love for cider donuts began in college. I was far away from home, my first fall in Los Angeles, when my dad overnighted a box of cider donuts. Even a day old, the rich smell of cinnamon and yummy goodness filled the room when I opened the box. By the end of the day, the donuts were gone.

“They’re even better when they’re warm,” my dad told me, and he was right.

We wormed our way into the County Store. The Louisburg Cider Mill folks could barely keep the shelves stocked with cider. Customers were taking jugs out of the stockers’ hands as they walked by while in line.

Trying to keep cider on the shelves.

We also decided we needed kettle corn and lemonade.

Kettle corn made in a real kettle.

Arms loaded with two dozen cider donuts, a jug of cider, a bag of kettle corn, and two cups of fresh-squeezed lemonade, we had enough sugar and fat to make it through the rest of the afternoon. We plopped on another hay bale to watch another awesome band play – so awesome, that I can’t remember the name of their group to save my life.

New to me: the haunting vocals of the Blue Moon Trio. (Thanks to the people at the Louisburg Cider Mill for providing the name when I asked about it on their facebook page.)

As the band played, I pulled out my very first sweet, tantalizing cider donut of 2011.

I was so overjoyed to have a donut I could hardly keep the camera focused.

As five o’clock approached, we knew it was time to go home. But we took some souvenirs with us.

Mmmm, cider donuts.

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4 thoughts on “The gloriously tasty and tantalizing cider donut: Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest 2011

  1. Angela

    Your post made me want to climb into the car and go racing down 69 highway to Louisburg…and I don’t even like cider! Great writing, Diana. I could smell being there on a beautiful fall day. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Sunday Snapshot: The Birds of Once Upon a Time « Diana Staresinic-Deane

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