Drayton’s Fall Harvest Festival returns Oct. 1

By Sue Hogenkamp

DRAYTON – As if putting on a record-breaking fair in August wasn’t enough, the Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society is now hosting its second annual Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 1 from 12 to 5pm.

The original Harvest Festival was held at the fairgrounds in September 2021 in lieu of the summer fair, which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. 

“We wanted to give the community an opportunity to come together in the fall of 2021 when some of the pandemic restrictions were relaxed, so that’s where the idea for this event came from,” stated agricultural society president John Foster.

“It was such a hit, we wanted to do it again for 2022.  Plus, it gives us the opportunity to do some fall-related things that we can’t offer during our summer fair.” 

“The festival has grown quite a bit this time around,” said society treasurer Arlie Zantinge.  

“We have been overwhelmed and are extremely grateful to the many businesses and individuals who have provided sponsorship.

“The prize amounts available for some of our competitions and Homecraft classes are amazing.”

The “Pumpkin Chunkin’” contest takes centre stage at the festival, where participants are encouraged to build a homemade trebuchet to fire a pumpkin as far as possible. The winner takes home a $500 prize. 

Various ways to chuck a pumpkin will also be demonstrated, and a few other competitions may be announced.  

The Car Rally kicks off at 1pm, with staggered start times. 

“We designed it to be fun and so that people can learn a bit about Mapleton Township,” said Foster. 

Preregistration for the car rally is required by Sept. 29, along with a $5 entry fee. The prize for first place is $100.

While pumpkins and sunflowers would appear to be the stars of the show, baking and canning classes also include such fall favourites as pecans, zucchini, apples, pears, carrots, beets, and cranberries.

Prize amounts for some of the special baking classes are as high as $40 for first place.  

“Our festival should appeal to anyone who is interested in pumpkins” said Foster, “whether it’s throwing them, growing them, or cooking with them.  Sunflowers also hold a special significance for our community”.  

The largest pumpkin, best decorated pumpkin, and largest squash competition all offer $125 first place prizes, and the tallest and largest diameter sunflower classes also have $125 first place awards.

Other competitions include photography, crafts and vegetable classes, with lots of prizes to be won. 

The agricultural hall will be open between 8 and 10am on Oct. 1 for competitors to drop off their items, with pickup at 4pm. 

Food vendors will provide delicious offerings, and there will be plenty of opportunities to shop for something special. 

Chuckles the Clown will delight the youngsters with balloon bending from 12 to 2pm, and the Wellington County Library Harvest Booth green screen and button station will be available all afternoon.

Face painting, live music with local favourites, the Moore Brothers, and zucchini races round out a full afternoon of activities.  

The festival culminates with a takeout dinner beginning at 4:30 put on by Wellington 4H.

For information about the festival, Car Rally rules, Pumpkin Chunkin’ rules, and a list of classes and prizes, email draytonagsociety@gmail.com or go to draytonagsociety.com or the Drayton/Mapleton Fair Facebook page. A $5 admission fee is required.