Ashfield Fall Festival celebration this weekend

  • Pumpkin games are a Saturday highlight of the Ashfield Fall Festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

For the Gazette
Thursday, October 05, 2017

ASHFIELD — It wouldn’t be fall in this leafy town without the Ashfield Fall Festival, an outdoor celebration of arts and crafts, music, food and games.

Started in 1969, the festival takes place all along Main Street (Route 116) on Saturday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days — rain or shine. Ashfield has about 1,800 residents, but the population swells as hundreds come for this event.

This festival offers craft and art exhibits, locally-grown and prepared foods, live music and dance, the annual “Pumpkingames” and children’s activities, and huge book sales and tag sales. Admission is free.

Parking is available in lots east of the town center on Route 116 (donations are gratefully accepted for the Ashfield Scholarship Fund, which is the primary beneficiary of Fall Festival proceeds).

About 50 juried art and craft exhibitors showcase their work in the upstairs of Town Hall and in a tent on the Town Common. They are selected annually by a festival committee.

Food is a big part of the tradition, and fair-goers look forward to eating blueberry cobbler (St. John’s Episcopal Church), fried dough with maple creme (Gray’s Sugarhouse), hot applesauce sundaes (Ashfield Hardware), New Orleans crawfish pasta (Elmer’s), kielbasa grinders, stuffed baked potatoes (Mohawk Music Association), and an assortment of lunch fare from the Ashfield Fire Department.

The traditional caramel apples weren’t available last year, and so Mo’s Fudge Factor is pitching in to make them for this event. Also available are “walking tacos,” which are bags of tortilla chips topped with your choice of meat or veggie toppings, which are easy to eat while strolling.

For the second year, Sanderson Academy schoolchildren will be selling lemonade, with all proceeds to go into a Summer Steele Scholarship fund. Last year, 9-year-old Summer sold lemonade at the festival to raise scholarship money for another child, whose father had died in a car accident. Summer was killed a few weeks later in a school bus accident, and the new scholarship fund has been named in her memory.

On Saturday, Pumpkingames begin at noon and are a festival highlight. At this time, organizers are still in search for donated zucchinis that can double as bowling pins for the pumpkin bowling contest on the Town Common. If you have zucchini to spare, please bring them to the Town Common by noon.

There are two book sales, one from Storey Publishing and a huge used-book sale at the Belding Memorial Library. There are a few tag sales, but the largest is located at the Baptist Corner Road intersection of Route 116.

On Saturday, the live entertainment will include: Tess Burdick, 11 a.m., Ashfield Community Band 1 p.m., Radio Free Earth, 2:15 p.m. and Morris Dancers 3:30 p.m.

Sunday’s entertainment includes: singer/songwriter Lui Collins 10:45 a.m.; Village Hill Trio, noon; fiddler Zoe Darrow 1:15 p.m.; Wild Bill and the Flying Sparks 2:30 p.m. and Parlicium at 3:45 p.m.

Also on Sunday look for antique cars along the Town Common starting at 11:30 a.m.