Harvest Festival Celebrates Our Agricultural Heritage

By Sue Moore

From its inception in 2009, the Vicksburg Historical Society’s Harvest Festival was meant to highlight the nature of this agricultural community’s lifeblood – raising pork, beef, lamb, corn, soybeans, potatoes and farmers’ market produce.

The 2017 version from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, September 24 at the Historic Village, will have it all. And it’s free, according to chairman Don Wiertella. There will be five food trucks selling smoked barbecue rib tips, pulled pork sliders, brats, hot dogs and other savory concoctions.

The Animal Zone is always the most popular for children who have never been up close to a pig, a horse or a bull. There might even be a zebra on loan from the Boo Zoo in Battle Creek. David Critchlow will be on hand with his ever-popular alligator and snake show to charm the youngsters.

The pumpkin harvest this year will focus on children’s carving and decorating in categories of scariest, prettiest and most artistic, with prizes that will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the Society’s information desk. Each winner will receive a gift certificate from Apple Knockers. Entry forms will be available at the Depot Museum, Fred’s Pharmacy, Family Fare and from each of the three Vicksburg elementary schools.

The “sweet” event is the long-standing pie baking competition. Three judges from area restaurants will have the enviable job of judging the pies. Pie-baking entry forms will be available at the Depot Museum, Rise N Dine, Yogi’s, Apple Knockers, Main Street Pub, Mar-Jo’s West and Jaspare’s Pizza.

Prizes will be offered to every child who completes the Secret Word Search and the Secret Picture Search activity. Face painting and balloon animals will be available. Educational and fun activities will be presented by the Vicksburg District Library with help from Project Graduation. April Bryan, museum curator, has prepared an exhibit, “Dog House to House Dog”, that will be open during the Harvest Fest in the old Township Hall.

The family can enjoy the free hay wagon rides. A trip in an antique automobile will be available for a small fee. A woodturning exhibition, including historic tools of the trade, will be conducted near the barn. Music will again be a special part of the Harvest Fest. The Luke Lenhart Family Band will be playing from 1 to 2:30 p.m. near the Gazebo. Open mic music performances will be located at the north end of the Community Pavilion from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Volunteers are the key to the success of any event,” said Wiertella. “We have the best when it comes to the Harvest Festival. These folks have several months of meetings and planning sessions, then they work all day during the Harvest Fest.” They include Gail Reisterer, Ron and Carol Wilson, Sue Harper-Grieger, Mary Ann Kudary, Randy and Donna Seilheimer, June Kucks, Dortha Bratt, Ted Vliek and co-chair John Polasek.

Wiertella added, “The Vicksburg business community is to be commended for their strong support for the Harvest Fest. This support includes monetary donations, material donations such as the Animal Zone fence as well as contest prizes. But most important is the sense of community that local business owners have toward the event.”

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