Trees were changing colors and the air was crisp as people filled the streets of McCloud for the third annual Apple Harvest Festival Saturday. They gathered to watch apple pie and scarecrow contests, sample apple juice straight from an apple pressing demonstration and stroll through downtown booths with pies, cobblers, cookies, jams, breads, pickled foods, even kambucha made from apples and other fall crops.

Live music was performed by local favorites Allison Scull and Victor Martin and comedy musician Brandon Dannals.

The carnival games hosted by McCloud and Mount Shasta schools were a big draw for children of all ages. Kids played ping pong fish bowl, ring toss, gone fishing, baseball pitching, beanbag toss, apple netting and many other games for prizes and candy.

“It is great to have something that is just for the kids,” said Nai Saechao, mother of children ages four and six who each won a pile of little toys at the ring toss.

The apple pie contest had 20 entries, and Mary Lingsch won the $50 first place gift certificate for dinner at McCloud Meat Market and Tavern.

Mary Beth Shrader took second place, and Kari Fristoe placed third.

The six judges claimed it was a tough competition. They took into account the appearance of the pie as a whole, the texture and taste of the crust and filling. They scored 1 to 10 on the three categories. Five of the six judges are seasoned veterans to tasting apple pies in past festivals.

Judge Erna Jones said, “There were two pies that really stood out.”

Judge Paula Kleinhans said, “An apple pie should taste like fresh apples. The spices should not override the apples. We have the pie bakers and the pie tasters.”

Judge Diane Kerttula said, “I like the apples well done. the crust crispy and not too much seasoning.”

Judge Tom Evans said, “Last year there was one pie that really stood out. It was spectacular. This year there were about five of them that were quite nice.”

Judge Mike Quinn, the new financial officer for the McCloud Community Services District, said, “It was a very very tough decision. The people up here know how to make apple pies.”

McCloud Chamber of Commerce President Claudette Silvera said, “The apple press was an absolute success. This year we gave out samples from the apple pressing demonstration. People wanted us to sell it, so we may do that next year.”

She said the kids booths were “raking in the money and having lots of fun. The proceeds from that goes to the schools. Our apple pie contest was the biggest draw ever. The winner of the scarecrow contest was Annemarie Rutherford who made the whole thing out of metal and bicycle chains. And, I would like to thank Skip and his crew who has been setting up all our events and for taking them down and cleaning up each time. The work that all our volunteers do is huge. This would not be such a successful event without all these hard working people.”