HAMILTON — You may have followed the old expression, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."
But this year the "doctor" is returning the favor with healthy precautions so you can enjoy the apples -- and the pies.
If you're an apple lover, it's one of the big questions going into fall -- will the COVID-19 pandemic preclude pies this year at Apple Day in Hamilton?
“We thought long and hard and deliberated with government officials and health officials and looking at the Governor’s plans, and decided that we could make it happen because it's an open-air experience," said Ravalli County Museum executive director Tamar Stanley.
Apple Day has been a traditional, and much-anticipated event for more than 40 years. It's a chance to enjoy the crisp fall air, see friends and family, browse the vendors, but above all, buy one of the handmade pies.
Stanley tells MTN News that this year will be more reserved, but with full COVID precautions approved by the Ravalli County Public Health and the city to keep everyone safe.
“With Apple Day, you know 1000 Apple pies this year was not possible. So come early for your apple pie," Stanley said. "We did have to scale back on quite a few of our regular activities. For instance, we will not have any out of state vendors. So we want to keep our public safe and just have local folks with us.”
Because Apple Day will be smaller, it won't generate as much revenue for the museum as usual. But everyone wanted to not only keep the tradition alive but the education of how important apples were to the Bitterroot economy in the early 1900s.
"The Bitterroot Valley was known as having the best apples in the entire world, and they were shipped all over the world," Stanley said. "It was touted as, people could move from the East and have 20 acres of heaven, and so that's how many orchards were divided in 20-acre parcels and some of them still exist today.”
It's proof that good taste can outlast bad times any day -- especially Apple Day.
Organizers are always looking for volunteers to help with Apple Day, which is set for Saturday, Oct. 3 -- and making making all those pies. Contact the Ravalli County Museum at (406) 363-3338 if you'd like to help.