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Frecon’s Cidery puts American twist on English tradition

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Boyertown >> Frecon’s Cidery will be celebrating cider and the new growing season May 2 with a traditional English “wassailing.” But they’ll be doing it in an American way.

Historically, Englishmen that celebrated a wassail would gather in orchards during the winter to sing chants and carols and dance to wake up the cider trees, scare away evil spirits and to toast the health of the trees, according to a press release from Frecon’s Cidery.

The Wassail at Frecon’s Cidery, scheduled for Saturday, won’t have any chants or carols, but there will be music — and toasting the health of the trees. The toasts will be made, for the most part, with hard ciders made by Frecon’s Cidery.

“For our first ‘Wassail at Frecon’s Cidery,’ we wanted to recreate a traditional English wassail. However, American cider has different characteristics than English cider so why not create an American version of a wassail,” explained Hank Frecon, president of Frecon’s Cidery in the release. “This year, we’re focusing on diversified music with American roots and creating an event that celebrates cider and the growing season.”

There will be seminars about the making of hard cider at Frecon Cidery, demonstrations about cooking with hard cider and a cheese and hard cider pairing.

The entire Frecon’s Cidery portfolio of hard ciders will be available for tasting, including The Crabby Granny, The Early Man and The Hogshead — all gluten-free and made from apples grown in the Frecon Farms orchard — a family-owned farm since 1944.

Frecon’s Cidery has been making hard cider for the past six years. Frecon’s cider makers use a blend of dessert, cider, heirloom and modern apples to create the final product, and currently offer six ciders.

A king and queen of the Wassail will also be crowned on Saturday. According to the event website, based on wassailing tradition, the king and queen are often the eldest man and woman in the orchard. The king and queen of Frecon’s Wassail, however, is for couples “who think they embody the spirit of wassail — fans of cider making with a love of hard cider.”

The contest winners will receive a year’s supply of cider. Contestants can submit their entry by 5 p.m. Friday. The winners will be chosen by Frecon’s Cidery team and announced during Saturday’s event. For information about the contest, visit www.freeconswassail.com. Click on “What’s Happening” and then “Contests.”

The Wassail at Frecon’s Cidery will take place from 12 to 5 p.m., rain or shine, at the Frecon Farms orchard. Tents will be provided for shade and shelter. Josh Smith, sales and marketing director said the event is coming “right in the sweet spot of the apple blossom,” with good weather forecast for Saturday.

Smith said about 500 people are expected to attend the event, and as of Tuesday afternoon, ticket pre-sales “have already exceeded total attendance from last year.”

Frecon’s Wassail will also feature local bluegrass, jazz, blues and improvisational rock band favorites including the Manatawny Creek Ramblers, The Cider House Band and Flux Capacitor who will perform live in the orchard. Food trucks will be serving foods that will pair with the orchards ciders.

Tickets for the event are available in advance online at www.freconswassail.com. The $20 price includes a souvenir pint glass and three drink tickets (must be over 21 and a valid photo ID must be presented upon entry). Drink tickets will also be available for purchase at the event. For additional information, visit the website or call 631-940-7290.

— Digital First Media

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