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Stagecoach rides, farm museum open house, tag sales highlight third annual Hadley Fall Festival Saturday

HADLEY — Horse-drawn stagecoach rides, antique farming tool displays and a massive tag sale are just some of the highlights visitors can expect at this year’s Fall Festival in Hadley.

The third annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in and around the First Congregational Church on Middle Street. The festival is a collaboration between the church, the Hadley Farm Museum and the Goodwin Memorial Library.

“If the weather’s nice, it will be a great day in Hadley,” said Rick Ward, a church parishioner and co-chairman of the festival. “There’s a little bit of something for everybody to come out and enjoy the day.”

For a fee, festival-goers can ride along Middle Street in an 1808 Concord stagecoach pulled by a team of horses from Muddy Brook Farm. Nearby, the Hadley Farm Museum, which has rich and historic collection of farming equipment and vehicles dating back to the late 1700s, will be open for free tours.

The farm museum is in a 1782 barn and its collection features a broom-making machine, spinning wheels, cobblers’ benches, hay tedders, butter churns and various other tools and toys.

“The farm museum is such a treasure,” said Mary Thayer, a festival organizer. “It just makes you step back in time to a different era.”

The historic First Congregational Church, built in 1808, will be the site of a wide variety of items for sale, including an area with hand, power and antique tools. A huge tag sale also will take place on the grounds.

“We’ll have new tools, old tools, antique tools and tools that we don’t even know what they are used for,” said Norm Barstow, who is in charge of the tool table.

Other booths will feature knitted and crocheted items, holiday items, antique and hand-made beaded jewelry as well as books and brooms made out of broom corn, according to organizers.

The festival serves as a fundraiser for the First Congregational Church and last year raised approximately $6,000. About two dozen people, primarily church parishioners, are organizing the event, including Kara Kapinos, who spent last weekend making pierogies and golumpkis that will be for sale.

“Polish food is comfort food in the Valley and a strong tradition in Hadley,” Kapinos said. “I learned how to make golumpki from my mother, one of Hadley’s golumpki-making champs. My pierogi recipe is from my cousin’s mother-in-law, the best I’ve ever had.”

In addition to the Polish delicacies, the festival will offer other locally made foods such as jams, jellies and fresh-baked goods.

Across Route 9, the Goodwin Memorial Library will have extended hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with children’s activities at the library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The library is also featuring a photography exhibit of nature and landscape photos by the Rick Thayer family of Hadley.

Ward said the festival has been growing each year since it began three years ago and that the event is as much about bringing Hadley residents and church parishioners together as it is a fundraiser.

“It brings everybody closer together,” he said. “It’s always evolving.”

For more information about the festival call 584-4117 or go online to firstchurchhadley.org.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.

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