(Waukesha, WI) – The popular Friends of Retzer Nature Center’s Apple Harvest Festival is returning for its 34th season on Saturday, September 18. The festival will continue to feature many of its familiar traditions, such as the apple market, arts and crafts vendors, a beer garden and live music. It will also include new self-guided activities to spread out attendees across the grounds. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Retzer Nature Center located at S14W28167 Madison Street in Waukesha.


“I’m so glad to be coming back together to celebrate fall in Waukesha County at one of our favorite park festivals with delicious treats, fun activities, and great shopping,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. “Plans are on course for a safe and healthy event throughout the nature center grounds.”


Food & Drink

The Delafield Brewhaus Beer Garden will be serving ready-to-eat food and assorted beverages and brews, including ‘Retzer Apple Ale.’ The Apple Market will have a variety of apples from Brightonwoods Orchard and Patterson Orchards. Half gallons of cider and caramel apples will also be available for purchase. Waukesha County Technical College’s Baking and Pastry Management students will be baking whole apple pies, whole apple crisps, individual crisps, and other sweet treats that will be available to go. To limit additional contact points, single-serve pie, ice cream and cups of cider will not be sold at the event this year.


Fun Activities

Visitors can shop arts and crafts vendors, bid on items at the Friends of Retzer Nature Center’s Silent Auction, and enjoy a variety of self-guided hikes and educational activities. Scarecrow Lane opens for the season with rows of community-made scarecrows to view and hikers can read the book, Little Acorn, along the Story Hike trail. Children will love the take and make activities, participating in the Passport Expedition and scrambling on the new Wood Climbing Exploration Station recently added to the Discovery Trail. Limited tickets will also be available for the Horwitz – DeRemer Planetarium show.


Safety Measures

At this time, masks are not required outdoors or indoors during the event. Individuals are encouraged to follow the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. There will be increased cleaning of touchpoints and restrooms and multiple hand sanitizing stations available throughout the grounds. The event layout will also expand this year to allow for more social distancing, including spreading out picnic tables and spacing lines. To limit crowding indoors, all dessert items will be sold through pass-through windows. For up-to-date safety information, visit www.waukeshacounty.gov/appleharvestfestival.


Admission is $10 per car, cash only. Visitors will pay from their vehicle upon entry to the parking area. Friends of Retzer Nature Center members receive free admission with membership card.
For more information about becoming a Friends member, visit: www.friendsofretzer.org.


For details on the festival, building a scarecrow, or volunteering at the event, call Retzer Nature Center (262) 896-8007, or visit www.waukeshacounty.gov/appleharvestfestival.


Full event schedule available below.

Schedule of Activities

Event/Activity Time Details
Apple Market and Apple Cider 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Shop apple varieties, caramel apples and fresh apple cider. (While supplies last.)
Dessert Window 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Only whole desserts available. Featuring Apple Pies, Apple Crisps, and more! In partnership with WCTC. (While supplies last.)
Arts & Crafts Vendors 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Shop vendors demonstrating and selling. Paintings, woodworking, soaps, jewelry, photos, textiles, and more!
Waukesha Reads Book Giveaway 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Get your copy of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. (While supplies last.)
Friends of Retzer Nature Center’s

Silent Auction

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Bid on unique items to help support the Friends of Retzer Nature Center.
Delafield Brewhaus Beer Garden 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Family-friendly food, snacks, and beverages.
Beer for ages 21+.
Live Music at the Beer Garden 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Americana music by JC Ayer.
Passport Expedition 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Travel to a variety of stops on the accessible, paved Discovery Trail to learn about the wonders of nature. Geared for ages 3-12. About .2 mile.
Reading Corner with the
Friends of Retzer Nature Center
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gather ‘round for a variety of nature stories read out loud on the hour throughout the day on the Discovery Trail!
Scarecrow Lane – Self-guided 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stroll the paved walkway and view the Scarecrows while enjoying the outdoors. Participate in the scavenger hunt for even more fun! Recommended for all ages.

About .5 mile, mowed grass path, some hills.
Scarecrow Lane is open daily until October 31.

Oak Hike – Self-guided 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stroll into the oak woodland and learn about the benefits and beauty of oak trees. Explore oak ecosystems, lichens, animals and insects that depend on oaks and more! Recommended for all ages. About .8 mile, mowed grass path.
Story Hike – Self-guided 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Take a hike and enjoy reading Little Acorn with the family. Story Hike is open daily until October 31. Recommended for all ages. About .75, mowed grass path. In partnership with Bridges Library System.
Story Hike is open daily until October 31.
Horwitz – DeRemer

Planetarium Show

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

*Show every 30 min.

Planetarium Show: Star Signs

Recommended for all ages. $3.00/person.

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