A centuries old hard cider tradition from England is returned to Iowa City at Rapid Creek Cidery’s second annual Wassail! Wassailing is a festive event which brings together cider makers and cider drinkers in a nighttime of revelry to ward off bad luck and usher in good health in the coming year.
The festivities took place Saturday, February 1st. With doors opening an hour early for VIP guests who enjoyed early access to the upstairs space where an assortment of appetizers from the British Isles, specialty ciders and cocktails were served.
Later in the evening, the full celebration kicked off with general admission guests who enjoyed a complimentary pint of cider, light appetizers, and live music from Flash in a Pan -- a folk and grass string band from Iowa City, IA. Noted for their shining harmonies, provocative compositions, and heart-felt performances, Flash in a Pan.
So now, my brave fellow, let’s drink unto thee. Hatfuls, capfuls, three bushel bagfuls!
The word “wassail” comes from the Anglo Saxon ‘was hael’ meaning “health be to you”. Participants were encouraged to dress up, donning crowns of ivy, feathered masks, and festive hats decorated with natural elements to honor the Apple Tree man. Guests will also partake in drinking special hard cider, singing wassailing songs, and dancing around the oldest apple tree in the orchard -- banging pots and pans to frighten off evil spirits and bring good luck.