For the [almost] fourth year in a row, my brother, sister-in-law and I went to the Long Grove Apple Festival this weekend.

Long Grove Apple Festival Mark and Madeline

Above: 2009, 2010

Smolak Farms

I missed the annual trip in 2011 because I was in Boston visiting Vera. But we did pick our own apples!

It’s a bit of a drive (an hour if traffic isn’t too bad), and there isn’t much that makes this festival stand out above other fall festivals or picking apples at a local orchard. But we like to go. Long Grove is a cute town, and it makes fall feel official. And now that my niece is in the picture, it’s an excuse for my sis-in-law to dress her up.

Long Grove Apple Festival

Long Grove Apple Festival

We met up with a high school friend and her husband and their youngest 🙂

Long Grove Apple Festival

Stealing all of her mom & dad’s lemonade.

Long Grove Apple Festival

Scary mommy.

Long Grove Apple Festival

This doesn’t happen very often, but she had a brief mini-meltdown. Still adorable though. [Sitting on her dad’s shoulders.]

Long Grove Apple Festival

Sis-in-law

Long Grove Apple Festival

Bro

Chef Klaus Bier Stube - Peotone

Afterwards we went out for some schnitzel and beer closer to home. Grandma (or as my niece calls her, “Gampa” … my dad is also “Gampa”) and some other friends joined us.