Final hurrah for Williamsburg Fall Harvest Festival — 25th edition kicks off tonight

A scarecrow on Williamsburg's main corner. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg is set to celebrate autumn for the 25th — and final —  year.

Because of declining interest, tomorrow’s 25th annual Williamsburg Fall Harvest Festival will be the village’s last, confirms Lori-Ann Van Moorsel of the Williamsburg Community Association.

“I would say that Harvest Festival has had a really good run,” says Van Moorsel, who recalls the Festival’s early days  when the organizing committee stood at 15 or more members and drew  “at least” twice as many others as volunteers.

The popular Saturday parade — set for noon as usual — used to include a best-float competition with celebrated rivalries between Lightning Street, Thunder Road and others. But that extra bit of spark is now gone.

“There was just so much more community spirit back then,” she says. “Since my return to the committee six years ago, I have noticed the numbers have significantly decreased both with members of the committee as well as participation within community.”

Not that the outlook for this weekend is gloomy. Williamsburg is again decked out with utility-pole scarecrows and decorated home porches and business fronts.

And although organizers almost didn’t get enough entries to reprise the outhouse races, that popular spectacle will be going ahead as usual, 10 a.m. on Saturday, Van Moorsel says.

The Festival kicks off tonight (Friday, Sept. 23) with a free showing of The Secret Life of Pets, 6:30 p.m. at the Oddfellows Hall.

Back at the Hall Saturday morning, the fraternal organization hosts breakfast 7 to 11 a.m. After the noon parade makes its way through the village, J.C. Whitteker Park becomes the epicentre of activity with petting zoo, bouncy castles, remote-controlled plane demonstrations and live entertainment featuring Earl Casey & Friends. Saturday night’s attractions include a popular chicken barbecue and euchre tournament, again at the Hall.

A variety of harvest-themed contests are being judged for display at establishments around the village. Also be sure to check out the craft show and sale (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the J. W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre. See the full schedule at the Festival’s Facebook page.

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