Organizers Call Festival A Huge Success
Looking back at a year’s worth of preparation and planning, “ecstatic” was certainly an appropriate word offered by patrons, food vendors, artisans and organizers on the outcome of this weekend’s Fulton Fall Folk Festival.
Even though the 38th annual event got off to a rocky start Friday morning with some chilly, rainy weather, the spirits of those in attendance certainly weren’t hampered or dampened. Among those checking out the festivities was Brenda Gordon, secretary/treasurer of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, who got a “terrific response” from festival-goers at the McConnellsburg Alumni Building.
Gordon noted a portion of the barrage of attendees on Friday may have been due to individuals seeking cover from inclement weather. However, organizers are very confident a large number of those same individuals swung by to check out the wide variety of food, crafts and entertainment offered by the chamber.
In fact, chamber administrative assistant Sharon Hoopengardner reported to the “News” much of the organization’s planning for the festival was “customer focused.” Getting people back to the building obviously resulted in more vendors then ever wanting to set up their wares for the three-day event that ran from October 14 through October 16.
Gordon said after having braved the weather Friday, the chamber had a “big day” on Saturday as patrons stood in line for food, browsed through the tables of local artisans and crafters and filled seats for the new Puppen Meister “Country Kids Jamboree” puppet and marionette show. The first time offered here during the Folk Festival, Gordon said she “couldn’t be happier” with the community’s response to the puppet act. The 48 available seats as well as hay bales were filled to capacity, Gordon reported.
In addition to the puppet and marionette show, Gordon said Snyder’s Amusements also offered three children’s games and food selections not offered by other vendors.
“We definitely had more for children this year,” stated Gordon, who added the chamber hopes word will spread about the new additions and even more festival goers will swing by the alumni building next year to check out the growing event. Offerings onsite also included popular JLG merchandise, Christmas gifts and even homemade candy.
“This year’s event was hugely successful,” she said. “We’re pleased with the response from the community, and we want to build onto this event ... . We’re really appreciative to the public and those who supported us.”
Meanwhile on Saturday’s parade route, the Allis Chalmers feature brought a total of 38 special tractors to the Fall Folk Festival. In addition to the Allis Chalmers, Grease, Steam & Rust (GSR) Association representative Paul Schmidt told the “News” six steam engines and 166 additional tractors took to Lincoln Way for the parade as well as the three county school marching bands, two marching units, an equestrian group, 15 floats,10 antique floats and the GSR float carrying the Fulton County Fair Queen, firstrunner up and Little Miss.
Parade winners included the first-place band from Southern Fulton High School, and secondand third-place winners from Mc- Connellsburg and Forbes Road. The Shooting Stars majorette/ marching group took top honors as well and were followed by the Girl Scouts of Fulton County-Big Cove Service Unit. Winning floats were Wright Touch Massage, Warfordsburg FFA and McConnellsburg FFA, while Wayne MacDonald, Richard Miller and Chris DeShong were named as winners in the antique car division. The 4-H Horse and Pony Club was awarded first place under the horse category, while the judge’s choice went to Big Cove Threshers for its Fulton County fall theme.
“The parade went very well, a little breezy, but nice. It was a nice sunny day after a very wet Friday,” said Schmidt. “All Friday events were cancelled, and the show was a washout.”
Having rolled back admission prices to $2 for the annual antique tractor, small engine and machinery show, those visiting the fairgrounds were treated to not only 87 tractors in the featured Allis Chalmers group but also to a golf cart, a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle known as a Terra-Gator, Allis Chalmers refrigerators and appliances, a ton of memorabilia and dealer items and a selection of farm toys.
Schmidt stated the highlight of Saturday’s display, however, was a full-scale Allis Chalmers Model A tractor constructed entirely of wood that required four years for overall completion. Additional items on display were 239 tractors and eight steam engines.
“Saturday’s events included lawnmower racing, farm stock tractor pull and the crowd-pleasing shower of sparks during the annual steam engine pull,” said Schmidt, who added three engines participated in the pull. “Sunday we held the antique and classic tractor pull as we did in our early years.”
Schmidt further noted that due to the popularity of the children’s pedal pull, which had been conspicuously absent for a number of years, the event was held on both Saturday and Sunday.
“By all accounts the crowd, our exhibitors, vendors and our members were very pleased with this year’s show,” he concluded. Plans for the 2012 are currently under way, and the annual fairgrounds display will feature Ford tractors and equipment along with several activities.