Detroit-Based Better Made Celebrates 85 Years of Snacks

Better Made Snacks LogoBetter Made Snack Food saw its beginnings in August of 1930 as the Cross and Peters company, named after its founders first names.The company started out with one goal: to produce a better potato chip – this led to the company adopting the name “Better Made” in 1934.

Producing a Better Potato Chip

What Better Made believes sets it apart from competitors is using Michigan-grown potatoes 10 months out of the year. Long before locally-sourced became a trend, Better Made was making a commitment to supporting local potato farmers, and in doing so, creating a fresher, better product. The company packaged their potato chips in crude, grease-less, burlap bags, and sold them primarily from their own store outlets, and later on delivery routes.

It Keeps Getting Better

85 years later, Better Made chips are still made solely in the Detroit facility. Approximately 60 million pounds of potatoes are used every year, and from the time the potatoes leave the farm to the time you put a potato chip in your mouth, the product is completely untouched by human hands.

Flavor varieties of potato chips that have been introduced over the years include Bar-B-Q, Sweet Bar-B-Q, Red Hot, Sour Cream and Onion, and Salt and Vinegar. Better Made has also expanded their product line to include popcorn, pork rinds, pretzels, tortilla chips, and even beef jerky.

Better Made also takes philanthropic strides to make their community better. For example, they took a portion of proceeds from their Family and Value Size Potato Chips and $0.99 Pork Rinds during the month of April, totaling over $23,000, and donated it to a former Detroit Red Wings player’s organization, the Ted Lindsay Foundation for Autism Awareness.

85 Days of Summer Celebration

For this monumental anniversary, Better Made wanted to thank their fans for 85 years of snacking, with the 85 Days of Summer Celebration. June 15th through Labor Day, Better Made will give away 50 cases of potato chips each week. Their trucks will show up in locations throughout the state of Michigan, surprising unsuspecting fans with the state-famous snacks. Additionally, one grand prize winner will win a trip to Soaring Eagle Water Park and Hotel in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Weekly winner of the Better Made 85 Days of Summer Celebration giveaway

One of the weekly winners of the Better Made 85 Days of Summer Celebration giveaway

Mac Wood’s Dune Rides Celebrates 85 Years!

Mac Woods Dune Rides 85th yearThe Mac Wood’s Dune Rides were started by Mac Woods in 1930, as a way to entertain guests staying at his lodge. Soon, neighbors and visitors alike were encouraging him to make it a business.  Mac Wood’s Dune Rides have been providing safe, fun-filled, educational dune rides to the public ever since. Today, they are one of Michigan’s leading tourist attractions, with thousands of visitors experiencing the dune rides each year.

Growing up in West Michigan, I had always heard about Silver Lake and the dunes. However, until recently, I had never been.  I thought the only way to access the dunes was to have your own 4×4 vehicle.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. I highly recommend taking this tour.  It really is the best way to see and experience the dunes.  They have access to areas of the sand dunes that aren’t accessible any other way- other than hiking.  This allows visitors to experience the dunes natural beauty.

Visitors climb aboard a 20-passenger “dune scooter” which is modified with aircraft tires, allowing for precise control out on the dunes. Be sure to buckle your seatbelt and hold on to your hat! The tour itself is about 7 miles long and lasts about 40 minutes. Our guide was very knowledgeable and good at mixing history and information with humor, making for a very entertaining ride. During the tour you’ll see the diverse eco-culture of the dunes, with breathtaking views of Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, all while experiencing a thrilling dune ride.


So, the next time you’re up for a day trip or find yourself visiting the Silver Lake area, I highly recommend experiencing the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. Please visit their website for more information.

Please join us in congratulating Mac Wood’s Dune Rides on a successful 85 years!

Making Waves: Monroe Boat Club Celebrates 70 Years

Monroe Boat Club 70th Anniversary Logo“Friendliest club in Western Lake Erie.”
“You won’t believe how much fun it is!”
“Grew up going here… this is a big part of my family.”

These are just a few of the Monroe Boat Club’s glowing reviews on social media. Although its founders could hardly have imagined this type of success in 1945, they would surely find it in keeping with the club’s first bylaw–the “promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Boating? Check. A down-to-earth, family-oriented community? Check. And as the Monroe Boat Club marks its 70th anniversary this year, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.


The Monroe Boat Club Present Day

The Monroe Boat Club, Present Day

Founded in 1945, 2015 marks the Monroe Boat Club’s 70th Anniversary. The Monroe Boat Club is located in the Bolles Harbor of Refuge on Lake Eerie in Monroe, Michigan, and attracts competitive and hobbyist boaters alike.

The club’s roots date back to the late 1800’s, when the club was known as the Monroe Yacht Club, a social hub in Monroe, Michigan known for it’s Muskrat dinners just after the turn of the century. When the Monroe Yacht Club merged with Bolles Harbor Boat Club, the Monroe Boat Club was born.

All Hands On Deck

In its beginnings, the club hosted monthly meetings in a member’s barn. After several years, the club began to develop into the Monroe Boat Club we see today; a lumber donation and the hard work of club members brought a two-story clubhouse to fruition. By 1979, the club boasted permanent docks, an adequate sea wall, a bar, and a clubhouse addition used for parties and social events.

Monroe Boat Club in 1949

The Monroe Boat Club, in February of 1949

Further expansion came over the following decades, with additional bar space, a stronger protective sea wall, an outdoor shelter, and more docks.

The Monroe Boat Club has 135 docks accommodating boats of 16’ to 60’ in length, more than 400 members, and an enthusiasm for competitive sailing and power yacht cruises. Club events are numerous, including Regattas, Sail Fleet Races, an annual Commodore’s Ball, holiday parties, poker runs, and much more.

The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club

The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club

For its 70th Anniversary, a commemorative 70th Anniversary logo was created. The logo includes the words “Promote,” “Protect,” and “Encourage,” citing the club’s first by-law, which states that “The object of this club shall be the promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Congratulations to the Monroe Boat Club for 70 exciting years!

Windmill Island Gardens Celebrates 50 Years

Windmill Island Gardens Attracts Tourists from Around the WorldWindmill Island Gardens is a 36-acre park filled with gardens, canals, dikes, and picnic areas, located in Holland, Michigan. The focal point of the Gardens is the De Zwaan Windmill; this 250-year-old windmill stands 125 feet tall, and is the only authentic, functioning Dutch windmill in the United States. This year, the Windmill Island Gardens is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, with a variety of events and special edition merchandise.

Windmill Island Gardens was previously known as Hyma Island, and was a vegetable farm owned by the Nelis family. During the Depression, the family decided to switch from growing vegetables to flowers, and began growing Daffodils by request of a cousin in the Netherlands. Over the years, they added Tulips to their farm, which resulted in a burgeoning of tourists who came to Holland for the Tulip Time Festival in the late 1930’s. In the mid 1960’s, the City of Holland purchased the De Zwaan Windmill from a retired miller in the Netherlands. The windmill was shipped to Muskegon and brought by truck to the island. The Windmill Island Gardens opened on April 10, 1965, and the grand opening was overseen by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the first official visitor to the park.

An Aerial View of Windmill Island in Holland, MI

Since it’s opening in 1965, the Windmill Island Gardens has become a popular tourist attraction in Holland, with around 55,000 people visiting each year between April and October. The park is home to over 115,000 tulips, replicas of buildings from the Netherlands including The Post House, classic Klompen dance exhibitions, an antique Dutch carousel, and more. The gardens are also often used for weddings, and see a large portion of their visitors attending during the annual Tulip Time Festival in the Spring.

For it’s 50th anniversary, the Windmill Island Gardens have a variety of events scheduled throughout the spring and summer, including:

  • A Golden Anniversary Party on Sunday, July 12th – Free activities for kids and their families throughout the day, including wooden shoe races, rolling hoops, rides on the antique Dutch carousel, a children’s garden and playground, Frisian horses, balloons, and refreshments. From 12-4pm, farm animals from the Critter Barn will be visiting for kids to interact with, and there will be a scavenger hunt let by De Graf Nature Center. There will also be Dutch children’s stories read at 1pm and 3pm.
  • A Golden Anniversary Concert on Thursday, August 27th – Bring your own blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the sounds of Orquestra Ritmo, a popular Michigan salsa orchestra. Kids activities will be offered from 6pm-7pm, and the concert begins at 7pm. The event is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.
  • A Golden Anniversary Community Day on Saturday, September 5th – This event is held annually, but this year’s Community Day is expected to be one to remember! Tickets are sold by Hope College and include admission to the gardens, a picnic lunch, and an admission to an athletic event at Hope College. For ticket information, contact the DeVos Ticket Office at 222 Fairbanks Avenue, or the Downtown Ticket Office at 100 E. 8th Street – Main Level. You can also call (616) 395-7890 for more information.

In addition to special events, Windmill Island Gardens is also selling commemorative 50th Anniversary Celebration memorabilia, including:

  • A commemorative ornament
  • Lapel pins, mugs, and tote bags
  • A special 50th anniversary cloth bag filled with flour ground at DeZwaan
  • The new book “DeZwaan: The True Story of America’s Authentic Dutch Windmill”

Congratulations to Windmill Island Gardens on 50 years of bringing history, joy, and beauty to the community of Holland, Michigan and all of it’s visitors!

Dairy Queen Celebrates 75 Years

dairy-queen-signThe history of Dairy Queen® began with a unique soft serve recipe whose popularity created an industry. John Fremont McCullough and his son Bradley created the unique soft serve recipe in 1938 and convinced family friend Sheb Noble to try it out in his ice cream shop. The first day, he dished out more than 1,600 servings of the dairy delight, and they knew they had a hit.  Two years later, the first Dairy Queen® opened in Joliet, Illinois on June 22, 1940. Sadly, the original restaurant closed in the 1950’s but by then Dairy Queen’s popularity was exploding, franchising was becoming popular, and there were already well over 1,500 locations nationwide. Today, Dairy Queen® continues to grow, has over 6000 locations worldwide, and is standing strong as one of the most popular fast food restaurants. Their new slogan is: “We make Fan Food. Not fast food”.

Dairy Queen® is perhaps most well known for their signature soft serve vanilla ice cream, which is used in many of their ice cream treats including the iconic Blizzard®. Additional DQ® favorites include the Dilly® Bar, Buster Bar®, DQ® Sandwich, Orange Julius® fruit smoothies, and more recently the MooLatte® Frozen Coffee drinks.

However, Dairy Queen® is so much more than just a restaurant.  They have become a symbol of small town America.  They are often a pillar of social life in small towns- where you will find kids’ birthday parties, families spending time together, teens to hanging out, and couples on a date night.

DQ BlizzardIn honor of their 75th Anniversary, Dairy Queen® announced the Birthday Cake Oreo Blizzard® treat as the Blizzard of the Month flavor for January.

Also in celebration of their 75th anniversary, on March 16, 2015 which is the 75th day of the calendar year, participating Dairy Queen® and DQ Grill & Chill® locations served customers a free small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on top. Dairy Queen® will be accepting donations for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®

For information on upcoming Anniversary events and delicious innovative treats this year, we recommend following Dairy Queen® on Facebook, or by visiting their website at

Please join us in congratulating Dairy Queen® on a successful 75 years!

50 Years Fresh: Tim Hortons Celebrates Golden Anniversary

It was a scene straight from the 1960s, with all the trappings: jazz, vintage cars, and a classic donut shop. In fact, if you had been in downtown Toronto last spring, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time:

Tim Hortons, 1964

Tim Hortons, 1964

Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto

Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto







And that was exactly the intent, as iconic restaurant chain Tim Hortons celebrated 50 years of success (or, more appropriately, “donut domination”). Employees dressed in 60’s era clothing and the original uniforms, handing out complimentary birthday donuts to passerby.

Luck…and Donuts

How did a humble donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario become a household name, with over 4,000 locations across Canada and the U.S.? Well, it helps to have a famous co-founder. Named after Toronto Maple Leafs hockey great Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton, the restaurant opened  just a few weeks after Horton and the Maple Leafs won the coveted 1964 Stanley Cup.

But an auspicious start was just part of the story. Tim Hortons earned staying power by being the best at the basics. Its coffee, always served within 20 minutes of brewing, has become the stuff of legend. And its signature Timbits (otherwise known as donut holes), became instant crowd pleasers after their mid-1970s debut.

The Taste Test

Clearly, this chain warranted a taste test, and I felt up for the challenge (spoiler alert: Tim Hortons’ passed with flying colors). I visited the Greenville, Michigan location and was pleasantly surprised to discover that beyond just donuts, they offered classic sandwiches and paninis.

I ordered a lunch combo that included a panini sandwich, drink, and choice of chips or fresh bakery item. Rather than getting chips with the combo, I indulged in a pumpkin spice muffin.  And of course, I had to try a small order of assorted Timbits. The verdict? I have to say that Tim Hortons wins my vote for “fast food”, and being able to pair a fresh bakery item with a sandwich (rather than other fast food restaurants’ greasy fries) is brilliant.

Celebrating All Year

In addition to the celebration in Toronto, Tim Hortons extended its birthday celebration to all of its 4,000+ stores. Customers savored free birthday cake donuts, and loyal fans were able to purchase one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary travel mugs and reusable beverage cups. All year long, Tim Hortons beverages were served in cups featuring the 50th anniversary logo, along with the take-out boxes and bags.

Tim Hortons also held a “Dueling Donuts” challenge, encouraging customers to create and enter their own donut into a contest to win $10,000 and have their donut added to the Tim Hortons menu. The winning donut? Love REESE’S® To Pieces, featuring chocolate frosting and pieces of REESE’s candy sprinkled on top.

Please join us in congratulating Tim Hortons on a successful 50 years of donut domination!

Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Room to Roam: Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Years of planning, strategy and preparation finally came to a head, as Dakota County, MN officials officially unveiled Whitetail Woods Regional Park—the county’s first regional park in three decades—on a sunny September afternoon.

As visitors flew kites, listened to live music, and enjoyed horse-drawn wagon rides, they described their impressions enthusiastically: “Beautiful.” “Great for families.” “Nature-filled.” “Big spaces.”

Emphasis on the “big”—456 acres, to be exact. Whitetail Woods offers over 10 miles of summer hiking trails and over 6 miles of ski trails traversing rolling prairie, pine forest, wetlands, and Empire Lake.

But an even more fitting descriptor for Whitetail Woods might be “one-of-a-kind.” Top of the List’s Audrey Flack attended the park’s grand opening festivities with her family and noted several standout features that make the park, in her words, “worth the drive.” Here are few of her top picks:

Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area

For kids, Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area offers a change of pace from the traditional playground, using the landscape itself to encourage creative play. Hills, hollows, and rock walls become places to build forts, play with sand, pump water, and jump across tree stumps and logs. Flack and her two young sons took full advantage of these opportunities:


And to help ease the wintertime doldrums, the hilly portion of the play area becomes a 915-foot lighted sledding hill. Post-sledding, groups can use a nearby king-size outdoor fireplace to toast smores beneath the stars.

“Treehouse”-style camper cabins

Open for just one month, Whitetail Woods’ one-of-a-kind camper cabins have made a big impact. When reservations opened at 10 a.m. December 1, there were 45 requests within the first 60 seconds. The three cabins have sold out completely through April 2015.

The cabins offer soaring views of the surrounding forest, while still remaining ADA compliant. Each cabin houses up to six people on simple full-size and twin day beds and can be used year-round.

Treehouse at Whitetail Woods

Looking ahead: A regional destination

At the Whitetail Woods grand opening, visitors learned of future plans for the park, including a paved trail around Empire Lake, an arbor for weddings, a dog park, disc golf course, visitor center, lighted ski trail, and up to 30 camper cabins. Programming for children and adults began in the fall, which attracts visitors from across the county and beyond.

A nature-lover at heart, Flack is eager to return. “Connecting with nature has been a key form of stress relief throughout my life,” she said. “I can’t wait to share the beauty of Whitetail Woods with my boys as they grow.”

Top Dog: Traverse City’s D.O.G. Bakery Celebrates 10 Years

True dog lovers regard their pets as family members–and Karry Barolo from Traverse City, Michigan is among these ranks. She felt guilty leaving her two dogs — Daisy, a Lab-Chow mix, and Oscar, a Beagle mix — when she went to work every day. “Dogs have such a pure love for their owners. And I was missing out on that relationship,” said Karry. So in 2004 she quit her corporate job to work full time alongside her dogs  at the business she and her husband Chris had started in their spare time: D.O.G. Bakery.

Hand made dog treats by D.O.G. Bakery

Last year, dogs everywhere gobbled up almost 8 tons of treats made by D.O.G. Bakery.


At the beginning, the Barolos’ new venture faced a skeptical audience. The media and potential wholesalers didn’t take the “dog bakery” concept seriously, doubting that such a niche business could survive. “In our early years, the articles written about D.O.G. Bakery had a silly angle that seemed to make fun of us,” Karry said. “Now we’re portrayed as a legitimate business and a resource for dog owners. It’s one thing I’m very proud of: the value is real.”

10 Years: Can you say “Dog Party!?”

To celebrate 10 years in business, the bakery planned a huge outdoor party for the community’s dogs and their owners, complete with games, dog treats, popcorn and grilled hot dogs. To top off the event, “Bisquit,” the ‘human’ dog, led a parade from the bakery to the local dog park.

Chris and Karry Borolo, founders of D.O.G. Bakery, sitting on bench at dog park with their 'human' dog Bisquit

D.O.G. Bakery founders, Chris and Karry Borolo, with their ‘human’ dog Bisquit celebrate at the dog park


Once at the dog park, the Barolos held a raffle for a year of free dog treats. Proceeds from the raffle were donated to a fund that helped provide landscaping and running water to the dog park. “We are so grateful for our supportive community. Donating the raffle funds to make the dog park better was the best way we could thank them,” said Karry.

From Simple Beginnings to Wow!

D.O.G. Bakery officially opened on May 1, 2004 in a small space in back of a retail strip mall. Low visibility prompted a move to Traverse City’s main street downtown in 2006.

“That’s when things really took off,” Karry said. The uptick in business led the bakery to expand: its original space now houses the bakery operation, and an adjacent space is used for retail.

D.O.G. Bakery Storefront in Traverse City, Michigan

In 2006, the bakery obtained retail space with a storefront on the main street in downtown Traverse City.

The boost in foot traffic is only part of the story behind D.O.G. Bakery’s growth: building a website their first year in business helped the operation develop a national customer base. The Barolos not only provide products to individuals with dogs, but also sell wholesale to stores and businesses across the country–including Hawaii. All this growth required employees, and D.O.G. Bakery currently has nine.

The Bakery

As the pet industry continues to grow, D.O.G. Bakery stands out for its focus on dog health and nutrition. “We want what’s best for the dog,” said Karry. “So we’ve worked very hard to come up with recipes that have no preservatives but have a longer shelf life.”

Frosted, baked dog treats in shape of bones

All treats are handmade, touched by loving hands as if they were being made especially for one’s own dog.

All treats are handmade without any machinery. “We bake 7 days a week, from 7 am in the morning until 9 pm at night,” Karry explained. “Our saving grace is that we don’t bake at 2 am like traditional bakeries!”  And of course there is R & D. With the aid of Karry’s current ‘spoiled rotten’ Tibetan Terriers, Rags and Lucy, the products–including gluten free dog treats, decorated treats, and cakes–receive a rigorous taste-testing so their canine friends can be assured of ultimate flavor in every treat. Last year, dogs throughout the nation gobbled up nearly 8 tons of D.O.G. Bakery treats.

Two Tibetan Terrier dogs with Halloween hats on in front of lit pumpkin

Rags and Lucy, official R & D case testers of the bakery’s dog treats

The Retail Store: Dog Heaven on Earth

D.O.G.’s retail space has never been just another store: it’s become the ultimate destination for dogs (and their human friends). For starters, not a dog enters the door without getting a free sample. Discerning dogs can even enjoy individual servings of dog ice cream (current special: peanut butter banana), made with low fat yogurt, local honey, and peanut butter and topped with sprinkles and crumbled cookies. While Fido savors his treat, owners can shop a complete line of dog and cat food, toys, and supplies of all kinds.

Interior of D.O.G. Bakery’s Retail Store

The retail store carries a complete line of dog and cat food, toys, and supplies of all kinds.

Rich With Experiences

Over the past 10 years of business, the Barolos have shared in the lives of their customers. On any given day, a visitor to the store might be over the moon introducing a new puppy, or overcome with sadness due to a beloved dog’s passing. Karry considers it a privilege to be part of her customers’ lives. “They know we get it,” she said. “They trust us with their real feelings without having to worry about feeling embarrassed.”

And that, ultimately, is the big payoff. “We’ve been a part of the journey with these animals,” Karry said. “I’m not rich making dog treats, but I’m very rich with experiences.”

Celebrating a dog’s birthday with birthday cake, ice cream, party hat

D.O.G. Bakery’s product line includes decorated treats for special occasions, cakes, and even dog ice cream!

Macatawa Resource Center Celebrates 15 Years with Ribbon Cutting Celebration

The Macatawa Resource Center is a facility thThe Macatawa Resource Center Signat rents space for non-profits to run their organizations in Holland, Michigan. This year, the center celebrated 15 years of helping community organizations, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and anniversary celebration!

In 1999, founder Leroy Hernandez opened the doors to the Macatawa Resource Center with a mission of helping non-profit organizations to succeed, even if they may not have the funds to rent their own office space or facility. The center began with just a few organizations taking advantage of this opportunity. Over time, MRC has expanded its facilities, and is currently home to over 13 non-profit organizations.

Some of these organizations include:

  • The Arc Advocacy and Resource Center – Providing support and resources for children and adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities, and their families.
  • The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance – Promoting racial equality and the active inclusion of people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds through workshops, seminars, and other advocacy services.
  • The Community Action House – Helps area families and individuals by providing food, clothing, and shelter, as well as education and training to sustain these basic necessities on their own.
  • The Thrift Boutique – A functioning thrift shop with clothing, shoes. books, accessories, and more – the proceeds from which go towards Community Action House Programs.
  • Building Men For Life – A community living program to help men reshape their lives after recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, by providing support and local housing.

In celebration of the Macatawa Resource Center’s continued growth and service to the community, the center held a West Coast Chamber ribbon cutting event. After an informative and gracious speech from Hernandez, the ribbon cutting kicked off the event, and 15 doves were released as a symbol of 15 years.

The Macatawa Resource Center Ribbon is Cut as 15 Doves are Released into the Air

15 doves were released as the ribbon was cut in celebration of the Macatawa Resource Center’s 15th Anniversary.

After the ribbon cutting, guests were given an extensive tour of the facility. Groups were led through the different non-profit organizations housed in the Center, as well as the common areas of the facility, like conference rooms and kitchens for the organizations to utilize.

The food pantry at the Macatawa Resource Center

The food pantry at the Macatawa Resource Center is just one of the ways the organizations it houses give back to the community.

As groups toured the facility, refreshments provided by Boar’s Head could be enjoyed. There was also live music, and even free chair massages.  The event was a true celebration, and everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves and learn a lot about the various organizations housed at the facility.

Live music at the anniversary celebration

Live music set the tone for a true celebration of community spirit.

Congratulations to the Macatawa Resource Center for 15 years of serving the Holland community!

Afton Apple Celebrates 25 Years

A good pick: Afton Apple celebrates 25 years

Welcome to Afton Apple

When September comes around, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more telling sign of the season than the ubiquitous trip to the apple orchard (the Pumpkin Spice Latte might be a close second, but that’s a story for another day …). And as urbanites and suburbanites alike prep for their annual orchard outings, it seems that everyone has a favorite.

Afton Apple is one of the orchards in the Twin Cities Metro that’s gotten it right. Located a few miles north of Hastings, MN, the orchard celebrates its 25th season this year. Owners Frank and Cindy Femling purchased over 190 acres of unmaintained farmland in 1989, steadily transforming the property from a modest pick-your-own apple orchard to a well-known landmark that welcomes over 50,000 visitors during apple season.

You might think that such a large operation would give the orchard an overly commercial feel. Yet the Femlings have carefully maintained the orchard’s rural charm and down-home atmosphere. Top of the List staffer Audrey Flack discovered this firsthand when visiting the orchard with her family on a sunny September weekend. In addition to picking apples, her young sons took full advantage of the unique “retread hill,” petting zoo, and playground:

Afton Apple Kids' Activities

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Afton Apple held a weekend-long extravaganza in mid-September. The event featured the famous Dock Dogs, music, face painting, and a beer tent, in addition to giveaways and a 25 percent discount on pick-your-own apples. It also designed its 15-acre corn maze to commemorate the event. The design theme, “Ears to 25 Years,” incorporates an anniversary cake and even the faces of the Femlings themselves.

But perhaps the best way for visitors to celebrate Afton Apple’s milestone anniversary is in the traditional way: with delicious goodies freshly made from the orchard’s harvest!

Enjoying a doughnut from Afton Apple