Fall Folk Festivities Draw Big Crowd
The splendor of fall leaves dotting the hills, valleys and mountainsides provided a beautiful backdrop for the thousands of people who visited the county over the weekend to take part in the annual Fulton Fall Folk Festival. Combined with Mother Nature’s good weather, tractors, crafts and good food, predictions of the 2012 festival pleasing all certainly rang true.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws for those in and out of the county, Saturday’s annual parade of tractors hosted by the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism had the crowds lining the streets for candy, music and, of course, to catch a glimpse of the Ford tractor. As the special tractor featured by the Grease, Steam and Rust Association (GSR), 37 Ford tractors dotted the parade route along Lincoln Way as well as a very special 1928 Ford Model AA popcorn truck.
In addition to the feature Fords, GSR member Paul Schmidt reported to the “News” a total of 117 tractors participated in the parade leading to the fairgrounds along with seven steam engines, a GSR float pulled by a raffle tractor, 25 floats, multiple marching groups and three equestrian units.
“The parade ran very smoothly and was very well attended as there were people the entire route,” said Schmidt. Parade winners, determined by a specially chosen panel of judges, include the McConnellsburg High School marching band in first place, followed by the Southern Fulton and Forbes Road bands. The Shooting Stars took top honors as a majorette/ marching group, and float winners include Girl Scout Brownie Troop 80405 in first, Boy Scouts of America Troop 45 of Needmore in second place and the Fulton County Center for Family’s Child Care group in third.
Chris DeShong was awarded a first-place finish with a 1966 Corvette, while Hustontown residents Carl Detwiler and Sheila Fraker took second and third place, respectively, with their 1921 Model T truck and 1957 Chevy Belair.
Winners in the equestrian category included Todd Alexander and the Alexander Financial Group, first place; Justin Cheshire on Reese, second place; and the 4-H Group Horse & Pony Club in third place. Furthermore, Judge’s Choice was awarded to Pleasant Grove Church for the depiction of Jonah and the whale.
After the multi-hour parade made its way through town, many parade-goers took time to visit the GSR 32nd annual antique tractor, small engine and machinery show. Gate numbers were not available as of press time. However, according to Schmidt, “Friday evening events were well attended, and the crowd was great as it normally is after the parade on Saturday. The Saturday evening tractor and steam engine pull were also well attended.”
He noted attendance at the fairgrounds was slightly down Sunday, but GSR remained satisfied overall with weekend attendance.
A total of 378 tractors, which included 97 Fords, 20 exhibits and eight steam engines were on the grounds as part of the main attraction. Schmidt said changes were made at the fairgrounds to enhance the visitor’s overall experience, which included altering the viewing area around the machinery operations with the addition of a walking path through the center.
“We threshed grain, shredded corn, sawed logs, crushed rocks, baled straw, planed lumber and made shingles. That seemed to go over well. We had activities for the kids and pedal pulls both days,” stated Schmidt, who added that a Disney popcorn truck was a hit with the wee ones.
The truck is reportedly one of five specially built at the request of Walt Disney for the Magic Kingdom Park due to his affinity for popcorn trucks as a kid. The truck had been taken out of service and required restoration.
“Packers Concessions returned it to perfect condition with several mechanical and operating figures churning the popcorn kettle. It was a hit with the crowd,” he said.
Feedback continues to be of a positive nature for GSR, which is continuing to strive to improve upon its festival efforts annually. In regard to the 32nd event, Schmidt said the majority of comments were positive as attendees enjoyed having all of the tractors back inside the fairgrounds’ fences. The lowered $2 admission fee was also well received, and GSR plans to continue with that price as long as they can meet their expenses.
“Our big item was our flea market that has nearly returned to capacity with returning and many new vendors,” Schmidt said.
Meanwhile, organizers at various Fall Folk Festival-related events reported equal success. The Christmas Mercantile south of McConnellsburg in Websters Mill hosted a Back Porch Bluegrass event Friday evening featuring Great Cove Valley Bluegrass. The event along the banks of Spring Run drew in a crowd with its toe-tapping music and a good food.
Runners and walkers gathered at the square in the village of Needmore Saturday morning for the annual Dale Gordon Memorial 5K before refueling at the Fulton County Community Christian School’s all-you-can-eat country breakfast.
When volunteers at the Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church arrived Saturday at noon to open Fulton County’s oldest church, they reported having visitors anxiously waiting in the parking lot to check out their selection of published historical works. Top sellers continue to be “Mellotts of Fulton County” and “The Truax Impact on Fulton County.” Local author John Mentzer, who penned “Tonoloway, If Its Walls Could Talk,” was onsite Saturday afternoon to discuss the Union troops and civilians who signed Tonoloway’s walls.
In Waterfall, one area craft vendor told the “News,” the small village in northern Fulton County was a great setting for people visiting and getting caught up in each other’s lives. “It was almost like the festival of years ago. Everything seemed to be much bigger and better this year,” she said.
The Dublin Mills Church reportedly distributed 100 free cups of ice cream as well as gospel tracks to interested attendees, and members of the nearby Center United Methodist Church fed the masses with their homemade pies, apple dumplings and sandwiches at the old Grange hall.
Festival sponsors in Waterfall included Community State Bank of Orbisonia, Newman’s Market, Waterfall Cable, Second Time Around, Knepper’s Feed Mill, Tinman Auto Body, Otis Ware Woodcrafts, Jim’s Body and Paint Shop, building contractor Rex Romig, Black’s Garage and Deb Johnson Candles.
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