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Bryson Kendrick, 9, picks apples as he and his family get ready for 2018's Apple Fest event at Super Bee Orchard.

The taste of fresh-picked apples is only a short drive away for Washington County residents as Super Bee Orchard prepares for its seventh annual Apple Fest celebration Saturday.

Each year, owners Jerry and Debbie Wiese open the orchard to share fun activities with area residents at an event that continues to grow each year, the couple's daughter, Lindsey Wiese-Kendrick said.

"We keep growing and growing," she said. "I think we had close to 3,000 people last year."

This year's event will features activities and games familiar to Apple Fest along with some new. Entry and most activities will be free for the 1 to 5:30 p.m. event, but families will pay by the pound for the apples they pick.

Activities will include pony rides, a bounce house, potato sack races and chances to interact with animals from Critters Close Up and alpacas from Alpacas of the Heartland. The Snow Sisters, Pikachu and apple-themed games like tic-tac-toe will also be featured at the event.

"We have a table with red and green apples instead of the Xs and Os," Wiese-Kendrick said. "We have to come up with new things every year, and we try to have things start at different times."

One new activity to Apple Fest this year will be a walking balloon artist, who will make balloon animals. Wiese-Kendrick said all the activities at the event are a great way to get people into the orchard.

"We hear that all the time, 'We drive by, but we've never stopped,'" she said. "And they see the crowd of people coming in wondering what's going on, and then they stop."

She also said Apple Fest is a great way to teach kids about where apples come from besides the grocery store.

"We like to open up the apple orchard because we have so many kids that don't realize, they only ever buy apples from the grocery store, and they can see you can actually pick an apple from the tree and eat it," Wiese-Kendrick said.

Wiese-Kendrick said anyone interested in volunteering for the event can still do so. She can be reached at 402-657-0943 or people can find additional information about the event on the orchard's Facebook page.

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