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1,000 revellers binge on apples in Gillespie Park

16:39 18 October 2016

Artur Radziwill and son Maciej, five, apple bobbing at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter Perry

Artur Radziwill and son Maciej, five, apple bobbing at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

One thousand people descended on Gillespie Park on Sunday. The attraction? Apples. Lots of apples.

Eleanor Murray, five, and Gabriel Petito, five, pressing apples at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter PerryEleanor Murray, five, and Gabriel Petito, five, pressing apples at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter Perry

After three years, the Friends of Gillespie Park “apple day” has become a fully established replacement for the annual Gillespie Park Festival.

The nature reserve, in the shadow of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in Highbury, was the scene of apple tasting, juicing, bobbing and pressing.

Organiser Pat Tuson said it helps raise awareness of the park’s importance for family recreation.

Reuben Polonsky, eight, has fun apple pressing at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter PerryReuben Polonsky, eight, has fun apple pressing at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter Perry

“Before, we had the Gillespie Park Festival for 27 years but that stopped – basically because of bureaucracy.

“Gillespie Park has no apple heritage – apart from there being some apple trees on the railway line behind – but when we were looking for a new event to replace the festival, we saw lots of other parks had apple days.

“Also, they cost a lot less to run.

Kids making apple badges and apple bird feeders at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter PerryKids making apple badges and apple bird feeders at the Gillespie Park apple day. Picture: Dieter Perry

“We basically buy loads of heritage apples from Brogdale [home of the National Fruit Collection] and put them on display for as many apple-related activities as you can think of – plus all the regular things like stalls and live music.

“It’s an important way of getting people into the park. We had about 1,000 come over the four-hour period Sunday, which we are obviously very happy about.

“The apple day is growing, but hopefully many of them will return throughout the year.”

For more pictures, see this week’s Gazette print edition, out Thursday.

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