Featured image by Artturi Mantysaari, via Creative Commons
When my aunt-in-law was alive, she made wassail, a delicious hot non-alcoholic apple cider beverage, for our family’s annual Christmas Eve celebration. She said it was a custom in her native Norway.
I didn’t know that the term, wassail, also referred to a celebration until I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionaries today. There are two festive definitions:
“1. drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way.
“2. go from house to house at Christmas singing carols:
‘here we go a-wassailing'”.
So now I understand why McMenanims chose the name for its Wassail Cider Fest in the Octagonal Barn at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse in Hillsboro, Oregon, 2-9 p.m. Saturday, January 20. According to the webpage, the festival commemorates “the British tradition of Wassail – a salutation wishing good health to all, often associated with plentiful alcohol and a lively celebration!”
Sample 40 varieties of hard ciders from Oregon and Washington brewers, tour McMenanims’ brewery, enjoy festival food, listen to live music, and join a parade to the orchard with singing to toast the apple trees. Wassail costumes are encouraged.
Tickets, which include a souvenir glass and 10 tokens for cider sampling, cost $21 per person in advance and $24 at the door. Although all ages are welcome, sampling is restricted to ages 21 and older, and ID is required. Buy tickets in advance by calling Cornelius Pass Roadhouse at (503) 640-6174.
McMenanims’ Cornelius Pass Roadhouse is located at 4045 NW Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro, Oregon. Check out the full list of ciders available for sampling, along with more details about the event, at the Wassail Cider Fest’s page.