The Cider Days Fall Market has a 38 year tradition as Topeka's Premier Fall Celebration. The two day event draws over 10,000 thousand visitors every year who come for its over 250+ exhibits, unique demonstrations, delicious food, live entertainment, kids rides, animal attractions and of course fresh pressed apple cider.
Stay tuned for the 2019 entertainment schedule.
Did you know we are a family-owned event? That’s right, our family and many amazing friends help make the experience of Cider Days something truly memorable.
Most of the staff you'll see at Cider Days are our family and friends—we certainly couldn't do this without them!
Our humble beginnings
In the early 1980's, a small arts and crafts fair was started at Apple Valley Farm at Lake Perry (approximately 30 miles northeast of Topeka). In the intervening years, Cider Days has moved and matured, growing into the premier fall festival in Northeast Kansas and the “must-see” annual destination for thousands of area residents.
Cider Days first move was to Lake Shawnee on the eastern edge of Topeka and, in 1987, it came to its current home, the Kansas Expocentre in central Topeka. Even here the festival has been on the move, making use of different spaces and areas as the Expocentre has evolved over the years from a fairground into an entertainment and convention center.
The two-day event, in September, attracts thousands of visitors each year to its arts and crafts exhibits, pioneer demonstrations, food and entertainment. Crafters sell their various wares inside the Landon Arena and Exhibition Hall of the Expocentre and pioneer demonstrations, local entertainers and ethnic food are found outside on the grounds, where straw bales provide resting areas and rides beckon children and adults.
It’s old-fashioned entertainment with pony rides, gunfighter and Civil War reenactments, grain threshing displays and craft demonstrations. The sounds of military bands, bagpipes, barbershop harmony, black powder rifles, Native American chanting , tap dancing feet and tooting train horns attend the hubbub of circling crowds of craft buyers and entertainment watchers. During election years, the sounds of campaigning join in with that of puppies yipping for adoption from the Humane Society.
One person you can expect to see, and without whom Cider Days would not live up to its name, is Connie Kimble. Since the beginning of the festival, Ms. Kimble has brought her 1865 Buckeye cider press to Cider Days virtually ever year. Using hundreds of bushels of apples, she produces fresh, natural cider for sale on site with the help of many family and friends. It takes about 300 bushels of apples to make the 600 gallons of cider she presses each year at the festival, about 20 to 25 bushels at a time. She uses a combination of tart (Jonathan or Winesap) and sweet (Red or Yellow Delicious) apples. By the cup or the quart, it tastes good!
While the festival opens to the public on Saturday morning, Kimble, like most participants, begins setup no later than Friday. Floor space inside the Landon Arena and Exhibition Hall is marked off into quadrants to provide booth space for the approximately 280 craft exhibitors who bring clothing, jewelry, wooden objects, candles, pottery, ceramics, wreaths, toys and more for sale. All items in the juried craft sale must be handmade.
For many visitors, Cider Days is the official start of the Christmas shopping season, with creative ideas to be found in each booth. A fine arts display, with watercolors and oils by local artists, features character artists ready to sketch the face of any festival-goer.
Outside, food vendors are lined up to provide such anticipated treats as roasted turkey legs, kettle popped corn, funnel cakes, Indian tacos, bierocks, sanchos, buffalo burgers, barbeque sandwiches, corn on the cob, pita pockets and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Individuals also share their skills in such once-common activities as basket weaving, rope making, candle dipping, fabric weaving, egg decorating, lace making, chair caning, apple butter cooking and soap making. The festival is also home to demonstrations of a life that was much closer to horses and axes. A mountain man encampment, Indian dancing circle, Buffalo Soldier re-enactors, gunfighters, buckskinners and riding demonstration by the “Wild Women of the Frontier” have all been part of Cider Days. Even not-so-common-skills, such as chain saw wood carving and limestone post cutting, are on exhibition.
And what self-respecting festival would be without clowns, magicians, face painters and mimes? At Cider Days they are present both on the stage and working the crowd. Also on the continuous entertainment stage are local musicians from country to jazz to rock to gospel to big band as well as singers and dancers of all ages. Square dancers, cloggers, ballet artists, tap dance students and cheer-leaders share their skills with enthusiasm.
A variety of community businesses and organizations have served as sponsors through the years. They provide both direct and indirect financial support, including broadcast and print media exposure. Restaurants have provided breakfast for the exhibitors as the set up before the morning’s opening and special recognitions for volunteers.
Our 40th annual fall market promises to be extremely special, as we're working hard putting together all of the details just for you! Trust us, it's an experience you don't want to miss!
Learn more about the Cider Days Fall Market history below.