The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

An afternoon of guitar and Granny Smiths

Max Strozzi plays the orchard
Photo by Ella Freeman
Max Strozzi’s mic and amp overlooking a sea of pumpkins and apples

Leffel Roots Apple Orchard hosted local guitarist Max Strozzi from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. 

According to Strozzi, his relationship with the orchard is coming to its one-year mark. 

“I first played a bonfire event here — the first end-of-fall one that they had when I moved here a year ago,” Strozzi said. “I moved here (Eau Claire) Oct. 14th and played Leffel Oct. 31st.” 

This event was a “spooky” Halloween-themed event that featured Strozzi playing guitar by the bonfire. According to the Leffel Roots website, this event will be returning to celebrate a successful harvest on Oct. 20, and will feature music from Strozzi yet again. 

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“They called me up and said, ‘Hey we have two events we want you to play because the last one went over so well,’ and I was like ‘That would be amazing,’” Strozzi said. 

Strozzi highlighted the fun and welcoming atmosphere the orchard had. He said he enjoyed seeing everyone out playing in the pumpkin patch soaking up the beautiful scenery. 

“Great crowd, they were very friendly. They sat at the tables and didn’t talk through the songs,” Strozzi said. “It was a nice, attentive crowd, which is very nice as a singer/songwriter to feel like people really care. The overall vibe of the area is to really take in and prop up local art.” 

Jim Leffel, Leffel Roots owner, said he loves hosting live music. The orchard has been around since 2015 and this is its third year of live music events.  

“It’s nice to have that atmosphere of someone playing music, as opposed to listening to that canned stuff on the radio,” Jim Leffel said. 

According to Jim Leffel, this event doesn’t draw in many customers outside of their usual crowd, but it’s something they like to do for their existing customers. He said it was a great way for them to improve the atmosphere and create a social environment. 

“It’s a great combination, the scenery is great and you have good weather. It’s a great outdoor space. We also have all the supporting stuff. You can have a drink or a slice of pie, come out and spend the afternoon, not just go somewhere and only have bar food,” Jim Leffel said. 

Laura Leffel, Jim Leffel’s wife, agreed the music brings something new to the table for the orchard.  

“If you have a multigenerational family, the kids can go to the corn maze, the grandparents can sit and listen to the music. There’s something so that everyone can be involved,” Laura Leffel said.  

Karol French and Jerry French, two patrons of the orchard, just so happen to be a part of one of those families. 

“We always come here with our son and daughter-in-law and our two grandchildren,” Jerry French said.  

The Frenchs said they both really appreciated the vibe of the live music as they walked around the orchard. 

“I thought it was perfect — the music wasn’t overpowering, just really mellow and relaxing,” Karol French said. 

They both said they agreed the music couldn’t have been more perfect for the environment. 

Strozzi said he loved to see the families running about the orchard. 

“I’ve got two kids of my own, so I was like ‘man I should have brought my little ones with me,’ but it’s hard to watch them and play music,” Strozzi said. 

Strozzi said he encourages all readers to check out Eau Claire’s live music scene and Leffel Roots Apple Orchard. 

“They take good care of me and the apple beer is pretty darn good,” Strozzi said. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ella Freeman
Ella Freeman, Freelance Writer
Ella Freeman is a second-year journalism student. This is her second semester on The Spectator staff. When she is not attending class or studying Ella can be found in your local thrift store, pretending to be mysterious in a coffee shop, on the nearest hiking trail, forcing her roommate to watch Marvel movies or screaming Taylor Swift songs at the top of her lungs.

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