By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — Lakeside Park, Syracuse, was bursting with activity Saturday for the annual Fall Harvest Festival. This event coincides with the end of the Artisan and Farmers Market.
Hundreds of people, many families with youngsters, filtered into the park between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to view vendor booths of arts and crafts, food, decorations, flowers. But the real draw was the pumpkin painting, animal petting area, games, balloon creations and the tractor-drawn hayride.
Jamie Clemons, director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, who was in charge of the pumpkin painting, noted they had 100 pumpkins available to purchase for $1 and people were standing in line at 9:45 a.m. All ages enjoyed using the various colors to paint a small pumpkin. While some took their finished designs out to the car, many were set in the grass to dry and provided an opportunity for others to see the creations.
Smiles, squeals of excitement, a few terrified expressions were seen on the faces of kids as they took advantage of the opportunity to pet a llama, mini goats, sheep, turkey, fancy chickens, rabbits, a potbellied pig, donkey, miniature pony and a pony.
The kids also enjoyed various games such as football ring and bean bag tosses at chances to win candy and trinkets available from the parks department.
The line was never ending for those waiting for a chance to ride a pony or to get aboard a straw filled wagon for a hayride around the block.
Various groups and organizations participated offering food, information and prizes. There was a wide variety of food available to purchase including blueberry and pumpkin donut holes, hot dogs, cider and lots more.
A wide genre of music was provided during the afternoon by Cool Change band featuring Steve Seevers and Drew Frailey under the gazebo. Many took the opportunity to sit on the straw bales to relax and enjoy the music.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, stated “It was probably one of the largest (events). When it is a nice day we have a good crowd.”