Prince of Peace pie bake kicks off Applefest

Celebration is underway in the Apple Capital of Minnesota.

The 69th annual Applefest kicked off Thursday afternoon in La Crescent.

The weekend of festivities includes a carnival for kids, plenty of musical acts, and of course, all of the apple-related foods and drinks you can think of.

“There’s always caramel apples, the Appleweizen beer at the refreshment tent, there’s apple pies that will be for sale from Prince of Peace, so just countless opporunities to get your apple divine in,” said Applefest president Verissa Jonsgaard.

Volunteers at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church were hard at work all morning for their annual pie bake.

Every year, the group makes 500 apple pies from scratch, with all proceeds from their sales going to fund different church programs.

Volunteer Gary Beardmore says many of the same people come out to help every year.

“You know, (from) rollers to cutting apples to getting the dough prep and so on, it’s just amazing,” said Beardmore. “Everybody kind of goes to their spot where they worked before and just continue to do it year after year.”

This is the 45th year Prince of Peace has held the apple pie bake, with more than 20,000 pies being made in that time.