Jim Mavor stood on the picnic table, thanked everyone for coming and told everyone he loved seeing the same faces that come to help him press apples year after year. He also told everyone that would be his last year making apple cider.

That was 20 years ago.

Mavor, now 71, began making apple cider during his first year of high school. His friend’s aunt had a cider press and Mavor’s family lived at an apple orchard in Hebron.

Mavor still has the same hand-powered press stored in a sugar shack next to the orchards. Now, however, he uses a larger press to accommodate the family and friends who show up one day each fall.

“We got a little smarter as we got older,” Mavor said, adding the larger press has an electric motor.

Mavor said he tells people each year is his last.

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“I was not going to do it again this year,” he said.

Until the telephone rang.

Heather Boehmer has been coming to visit Mavor one Sunday each fall to help press apples since she was 6 years old.

Boehmer, 42, and her siblings would wear trash bags to keep cider off their clothes. Her mother, Darlene Major, remembers the children’s hair being pressed to their heads because they were covered in apple cider.

Boehmer now lives in Florida and called Mavor in September to check when the day given to making cider would happen this fall.

That day was Sunday.

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“He is such a special guy,” said Major, who flew up from Florida with her daughter for the special day. “Today, it’s about Jim.”

More than 250 people have come to apple pressings of the past, but Sunday’s gathering was much smaller. Large crowds have not returned since the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mavor, who remembers lines of cars up and down Greenwood Mountain Road.

Mavor said Sunday would be the last cider making day he will host since he began more than 40 years ago.

“Every year is the last annual cider press,” Rick Lane of Auburn said as he helped children add more apples to the press.

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