The twang of the bluegrass fiddle and banjo filled the air as more than 200 people packed into Wilson's Orchard to partake in 110 meals and 70 turnovers created just for Thursday night.
Iowa City-based Shinbone Alley kicked off a season of live entertainment planned for the u-pick-it orchard located between Iowa City and Solon off Highway 1. Take a right on Dingleberry Road to 2924 Orchard Ln NE.
The pulled pork sandwiches from The Pit in Iowa City, as well as the sweet corn from Dean Rebel's stand four miles north of the orchard on Highway One, were sold out by 6:30 p.m.
"We’ve done the concerts for a few years," said Paul Rasch, who owns and runs the 88-acre apple orchard with Sara Goering. "It’s kind of a quiet thing. It’s an experimental thing. Most of our business is family, but these (concerts) are also more for the adults."
Plenty of kids - young and old - enjoyed the music in between exploring the orchard grounds that boasts trails, hills and a pond. Rasch said some of their 120-plus varieties of apples - specifically for pies - were ready to pick two weeks ago and more are ripening with each week.
"We opened at the beginning of August," he said. "The quality is real good this season." Wilson's charges $2 per pound if you choose to pick your own, but the option of buying bags already picked from their general store and bakery is also available.
"We’re famous for our baked goods," he said. "Everything is homemade - pies, turnovers, butters..."
Rasch has been in the orchard business for 25 years, but travelled from Michigan with Goering three years ago to purchase Wilson's.
"I grew up in the orchard businss," he said. "We just wanted a Midwestern University town, and we liked Iowa City so we moved."
Barb Schintler manages the entertainment events and the retail side, while Karen Vandenbosch manages the bakery. The next musical event, band to be named, will be Aug. 31, with classical music Sept. 16 and the all-female band, Awful Purdies, Oct 5. For times and more information, call Wilson's Orchard at (319) 354-5651.