High up in the branches, 8-year-old Tino Hargiss sees his prize: an apple. It’s one of the last of the season, waiting to be plucked and enjoyed.
“Is there another tree I can climb?” a breathless Tino asks his mother, Lindsey Hargiss, the instant his feet touch the ground.
There are no video games or modern distractions this Sunday afternoon, just the sounds of a creek running over sandstone and children laughing. This is a typical day at Slide Rock State Park, which will host the third annual Apple Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
“It gets us out of the city,” says Lindsey Hargiss of Glendale. “Here we can walk (along the trails), and the kids like playing in the water.”
Apple picking is a tradition at Slide Rock State Park. An apple orchard planted by Frank Pendley, the original homesteader, covers 43 acres of the park, which is known more for its natural sandstone slide than the Arkansas black or red delicious apples hanging from the trees.
“The main attraction is the slide, but there is a very important historic component to this park,” says Steve Pace, park manager.
Walking along the trails takes you back to a time when men dynamited their way through rocks and laid the foundation for settlement in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.
Pendley, a miner and driller who worked on Roosevelt Dam, settled this homestead in 1910. He succeeded where other homesteaders failed by building an irrigation ditch a mile upstream. Two years later Pendley’s apple trees were thriving. Generations of the Pendley family were raised on the farm, which was sold in 1985 to Arizona State Parks. The apple packing shed, the orchard, three tourist cabins and the Pendley home are what’s left of the original homestead.
Activities during the festival will include a bird-watching walking tour, history walk, arts and crafts, food, music, children’s games, watching plein-air artists at work and apple picking (if there are any apples left on the trees). Apple pies and other delicacies will be available for purchase.
“There will be something for everybody,” says Pace.
Slide RockApple Festival
What: Apple picking, live music, hikes, and arts and crafts
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Slide Rock State Park, 6871 N. Highway 89A, Sedona
Information: (928) 282-3034 or www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/sliderock.html
Take Interstate 17 north to state Route 179. Exit and turn left toward Sedona. Proceed through Sedona and take state Route 89A north seven miles to the park (turn left at the “Y”).