By Kristina Powers Aubry
The Vicksburg Historical Society’s Harvest Festival is ready to open for family fun on Sunday, September 29, from 11 am – 4 pm at the Vicksburg Historic Village. This marks the 5th year for the free annual event to celebrate the fall harvest. Beginning in 2009, the Festival drew 700 visitors to the Historic Village Park to see animals, crafts, artisans, hear music, play games and purchase the finest of the area produce. Since that time the crowds have grown to over 1200 visitors last year and are expected to continue growing as the Festival gets bigger every year.
The popular Animal Zone will be back with everything from fuzzy petting critters, to exotic reptiles. Last year, a popular, new addition to the Zone was, Humphrey, the camel.
Humphrey will be back, along with the beefalo bull, and alpacas.
This year an interesting dairy exhibit will allow children and adults to get up close and personal with cows and goats.
For children of all ages, Gordon Miller, the magician will be performing his acts of amazement and Miss Kristy will be telling stories to those nestled on the carpet in the historic Township Hall. Over in the oneroom Strong School, those who may prefer a zoo of another stripe can try out the Musical Instrument Petting Zoo, where June and Wayne Kucks invite youngsters to hold, touch and strum instruments to become familiar with how music is made.
The food vendor zone will be luring in hungry visitors with the aromas of a variety of goodies from Chef Geff, Kurt Wiley, the Oswalt Family, and Guatemalan specialties.
The entertainment has been expanded to run the entire afternoon, including the music of BenJammin’ and Analisa, back for two concerts. The BenJammin’ family provides music and fun geared specifically for young listeners. Several local musicians with a variety of styles will also be playing to keep toes tappin’ throughout the day.
The historic buildings in the Village will be open for touring all day. Free wagon rides and Model A rides, for a small fee, will provide a fun way to rest the feet and enjoy old time transportation.
Many vendors from the popular Vicksburg Farmers’ Market will be selling their fruits, vegetables, cheeses, nuts, pasties, plants, baked goods and crafts. Many hand-made crafts will be for sale, as well as craft demonstrations, and information on local and areawide services and organizations. For the antique hunters the Antique Alley will be loaded with treasures from the past just waiting for discovery and taken home.
The Pumpkin Decorating Contest for youngsters 5–12 years old, will offer young artists the chance to decorate a funny, scary, pretty or originally decorated pumpkins and gourds for competition. All entries will be on display during the entire day. The popular Pie Baking Contest for bakers of all ages will bring out the baker in anyone willing to have a panel of judges sample their talents. Slices of the contestants’ pies will be for sale after the judging.
The new Community Pavilion framework will be erected a week before the Festival so visitors will have an opportunity to check out the timber-frame addition to the park while they enjoy the fun.
The Historic Village continues to be a place at which friends, family and local citizens can gather and enjoy the benefits of small town living and learn a bit about the past at the same time. The Harvest Festival is another of the interesting events held in the park. No matter what the weather, visitors have reported they have found the Harvest Festival a great way to spend an autumn afternoon.