NEWLAND — The Fall Harvest Festival in Newland returned for its second year on Saturday, Oct. 5, on a chilly and overcast day as the leaves are starting to change.
The festival at Riverwalk Park featured music, crafts vendors, food and some fun contests, including a pumpkin carving contest and a pie eating contest featuring a handful of local officials face-planting directly into pies.
Arthur Clark won the pumpkin carving competition with his detailed carving of Frankenstein’s Monster.
The festival was organized by the town, more specifically orchestrated by Alderman Christie Hughes. This year the festival moved from the Town Square to the park.
Hughes said the decision to move to the park was to give the festival more room and aim it toward the community, the kids and showcasing local talent.
Planning for the event began after the town’s Independence Day Celebration in July. The email list used for the July festival was the starting point for getting vendors interested in the Harvest Festival.
Vendors came from all over Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. The town organized the festival for the community, and will not be collecting a profit, but it did sell tickets for games to cover the cost of prizes. The town also gave donations to Avery County Cloggers and the Avery Middle School Panther Players for coming out to the event.
“We hope to do it again next year and hope to make it bigger and better,” Hughes said. “I want the community to know this is for them.”
Newland Mayor Valerie Jaynes was somewhat disappointed with the dreary weather, but was happy with the festival.
“I’m glad we could have it, and I hope the town comes out and enjoys themselves,” Jaynes said.
Local radio talent Phillip Greene of WECR was the announcer for all the events.
For more on the festival, look inside this week’s edition for photos from the event.