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Volunteer in area Parks on National Public Lands Day then Sip Cider at the Inaugural Cider Festival

Gig Harbor, WA. August 21, 2014. The first annual Cider Swig, the Greater Peninsula Cider Festival, will be held on September 27, 2014 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Sehmel Homestead Park in Gig Harbor, Washington. The festival is presented by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation’s Parks & Environment Core Area Board (CAB), in partnership with PenMet Parks and the City of Gig Harbor.

Meet the cider makers and taste from over 40 varieties of hard cider offered by eleven cideries from Washington and Oregon. Area food vendors will be serving select delectable dishes from their menus tailored to complement the ciders throughout the day. The stage will be hopping with live music, and the Kids Apple Zone and Apple Launch Competition present fun activities for kids of all ages. Cideries will also have available ciders for sale, to take home. Exhibits include presentations by WSU Cider experts on regional apple tree varieties and pruning, and cider making.

Cider Swig tickets can be purchased at or by calling the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation at 253-514-6338. Proceeds from the Cider Swig will support environmental conservation on public lands, environmental education, and other initiatives of the Foundation’s Parks & Environment CAB, which include maintaining and expanding public parks, trails, open space and natural areas of the greater Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas.

The Cider Swig is being held in conjunction with the 21st National Public Lands Day – the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort to benefit public lands. Last year about 175,000 volunteers worked at 2,237 sites nationwide to plant native plants, remove invasive plants, build and restore trails, and remove trash. In 2013 seven federal agencies, and many state, regional and local governments and nonprofit organizations participated in National Public Lands Day.

The benefits of National Public Lands Day include increasing environmental education and awareness of the need for public lands stewardship; facilitating partnership-building between public agencies and the local community; and bringing volunteers together to improve public lands for outdoor recreation.

Volunteerism is the main component of National Public Lands Day, and there are many ways to volunteer at local parks on September 27. PenMet Parks, Key Pen Parks, and the City of Gig Harbor are hosting volunteer events that day from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Eric Guenther, Facilities and Special Projects Manager for PenMet Parks explained that “National Public Lands Day is an opportunity to support public lands, get some of that exercise we all need, and embrace the spirit of one of the community’s finest volunteers, Vernon Young.”

Vernon Young (1935-2014) was a leader and a generous, unwavering dedicated volunteer, whose footprints will forever reside in our community’s parks. Vern sincerely believed in ‘leaving things better than you found them’. The Volunteer Vern Pavilion at Sehmel Homestead Park was dedicated to honor Vern’s accomplishments as a conservationist and volunteer in the community.

Vern was at the helm of both the formation of the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation and EnviroCorps. Through EnviroCorps, he helped people find volunteer opportunities on public lands, fostered productive exercise, expanded the Adopt-A-Road program in the community to provide roadside litter pickup, and established the Sponsor-A-Trail program to support the maintenance of our parks trail system.

In the spirit of National Public Lands Day and Volunteer Vern, we invite you to volunteer and connect with nature, and your community. Volunteering inspires others to get involved, and you can link up with like-minded individuals to work on future projects. All National Public Lands Day Volunteers will receive discounted entrance to the Cider Swig, and be invited to the end of the year volunteer appreciation party hosted by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation.

“When I think of community volunteer days like National Public Lands Day,” Guenther said, “I think of Vernon’s words: ‘I appreciate your thanks, but I could really use your help.’”

Please contact PenMet Parks at 253-858-3400, Key Pen Parks at 253-884-9240 or the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation 253-514-6338 for more information on National Public Lands Day volunteer opportunities.

Information on the Cider Swig and festival volunteer opportunities can be found at Tickets to the festival can be purchased online at, through the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation, or visit us at the Harbor WildWatch booth at the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Wednesday’s 12pm to 2pm now through September 24th.

Julie Ann Gustanski, Chair, 253.223.8003,
Lindsey Johnson, 253.514.6338,
Eric Guenther, 253.858.3400, ext 6,