Bounty of fun on Harvest Festival menu

By Benny Westcott
Of The New Era/Lebanon Local

Anyone in search of fall-themed fun should be able to find it this weekend during the city’s 16th annual Harvest Festival, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Sankey Park, 877 14th Ave.

“We’re trying to build basically off of the success of previous years,” Sweet Home Economic and Development Director Blair Larsen said. “Largely, people who have come in the last couple of years can expect the same great event. It’s basically just a great time to get out and enjoy Sankey Park, see what local vendors have to offer and enjoy some great live music.”

Activities include pumpkin painting, tree-climbing, Kid Zone games, wagon rides, face-painting, a miniature donkey exhibit, a photo booth and live music from Jobe Woosley and the Koz Band – not to mention the chili cookoff, sponsored by the Road Maggot Motorcycle Group and Radiator Supply House, and the pie bake-off.

Admission to the former is $5 per person or $10 per family, with a limit of six people per family. A ticket will be provided as proof of purchase for general admission. Purchasers will use their entry ticket as a “voting ticket” for the People’s Choice Award. Entrants may apply at https://bit.ly/3xRVN8n.

Pie bake-off visitors can sample entries for $3. Those interested in participating can apply at https://bit.ly/3dDkyyp.

“We want to encourage everyone to keep signing up for those,” Larsen said of the two events, “because it makes the event even better.”

Last year, both brought in $2,156 for the Rialee Roth Hotchkins Lymphoma Fund. This year’s proceeds benefit the BackPack Program, which provides necessities to local children at the start of each school year.

As of Thursday, Sept. 22, Larsen said that 70 vendors had signed up for the festival. Most are from Sweet Home and Lebanon, with others from throughout Linn County. Vendors can apply for a location at bit.ly/3SqU55W. (The city is still looking for festival volunteers via bit.ly/3RdGhdG.)

“It’s been steadily getting bigger and bigger every year for the last three years or more,” he said. “We’ve added a lot of staff time and investment into the event. It’s gotten to the point where it’s attracting quite a few vendors. We’re hosting two different bands and we’ve got food from a bunch of different places coming.”

Larsen estimated that at least 1,000 people attended last year.

“In previous years we’ve filled the park for most of the day, and I would expect it to be pretty similar [this year],” he said. “People should expect to walk a little bit to get in there, because we will have portions of 14th Avenue closed down to accommodate all of the people and traffic and make it a safe event.

“It’s almost like little festivals that you’ll see in a TV show,” he added. “There’s a small-town charm and people enjoying the park. There are booths for food, stuff for sale and organizations that are in town. There are kids’ games. It’s good, wholesome family fun, with some great music mixed in.”