Finnriver Farm & Washington Cidery invites all to a Wassail Celebration this Saturday, January 15, 2011, between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.. Wassail is an old English tradition in which the community gathers to honor apple orchards and enjoy the land. Wassail is a contraction of the Gaelic phrase, Waes Hael which translates to ‘Good Health’. Come wish Good Health for all in 2011.

Wassail Celebration at Finnriver on January 15, 2011.

In 1135, Geoffrey of Monmouth recorded in ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ his understanding of the origin of the toast:

“While Vortigern was being entertained at a royal banquet, the girl Renwein came out of an inner room carrying a golden goblet full of wine. She walked up to the King, curtsied low, and said “Lavert King, was hail!” When he saw the girl’s face, Vortigern was greatly struck by her beauty and was filled with desire for her. He asked his interpreter what it was that the girl had said and what he ought to reply to her. “She called you Lord King and did you honour by drinking your health. What you should reply is ‘drinc hail.'” Vortigern immediately said the words “drinc hail” and ordered Renwein to drink. Then he took the goblet from her hand, kissed her and drank in his turn. From that day to this, the tradition has endured in Britain that the one who drinks first at a banquet says “was hail” and he who drinks next says “drinc hail.”

Wassailing still takes place in many areas of Great Britain today, where healthy apple orchards contribute to a healthy economy.

As in past years, Nancy and Gary Frederick will lead the orchard parade at Finnriver Farm & Cidery with bagpipe and drum. Following them will be music and merriment with the Port Townsend Children’s Choir and the Songlines Choir. As a special treat, the Legends of the Forest Carousel will be on hand this year – a beautiful hand-cranked carousel featuring magical wood carvings of Northwest forest animals.

Share in apple cake, caramel apples and hot cider. Help honor the apple trees that provide so much goodness, including Finnriver’s local, handcrafted Washington State Cider.

All are welcome to attend this event. There is a suggested donation is $3.