McIntosh Apple Day at the Ravalli County Museum in Hamilton is the largest gathering of people in the Bitterroot Valley in October, and it's easy to see why.

There's the smell of freshly squeezed apple cider and the the bubbling vat of apple butter. The music this year will be from the local band Blue Melon. The Biggest Bake Sale Under the Big Sky features hundreds of apple pies, made from scratch by local bakers with local apples this week!

Add to that an expanded Farmers Market with over a hundred vendors from throughout Montana, a raffle with over 100 items and kids activities including face painting. And try a fairly new addition, BBQ pork with Apple Chutney.

This is the 34th annual event to raise money for the Ravalli County Museum in its ever-present battle to try to save the history and heritage of the Bitterroot Valley. So, while you're at Apple Day, stroll on into the museum and see what's there.

The day also has its "roots" in valley history, when developers started selling parcels of land to grow McIntosh Apples, back in 1866. The tart apples were soon well-known to be the best for pies, but the Montana weather - including hail, frost and irrigation problems doomed the Apple Boom by 1924.

A few local orchards have survived. For instance, Swanson's Apples are great supporters of Apple Day at the museum.

No admission charge. Just show up at the corner of South 3rd and Bedford and enjoy! The day starts at 9 a.m. and will finish up about 3 p.m.