Vibrant leaves, hayrides, and costumes were some of the sights that decorated Valparaiso’s downtown during the Fall Harvest Festival on Friday, October 17. Thousands of people from all over the region gathered to celebrate the change in season.
The Harvest Fest is about giving back to the community in a unique way. Businesses across Valparaiso gather in downtown as a way to provide our youth with a safe environment to trick-or-treat in. Community leaders recognize that not every child has an appropriate atmosphere to celebrate Halloween, so the festival provides an opportunity for everyone to dress up in their favorite costumes and spread the holiday cheer!
Tina St. Aubin, co-chair of the Fest, stated, “We see people from all over come together and celebrate with us! It’s always great seeing the kids dressed up, but it’s really about giving back to the kids and their families.”
Businesses from a broad range participate in this community event. Multinational chains to local businesses embodied the role of houses and passed out candy as children went ‘door to door’. Valparaiso’s very own Zao Island was one business to participate in the festival.
Ryan Wright, General Manager of Zao Island stated, “We’re giving out free laser tag tickets and candy for all the kids. It’s a creative way to give back to the community and seeing all the kids—dressed up and excited—is always awesome!”
The festival focused on providing equal entertainment outlets for both adults and the children. Other than trick-or-treating, the kids and their families had the opportunity to enjoy live music and hayrides. Century 21 was even passing out pumpkins that kids could carve into Jack-o’-lanterns. Other businesses passed out coupons and had bargain deals.
Jennifer Peak, co-chair of the Fest said, “This is one of the few events that really unites the families of Valparaiso with the town itself. It really is a family event—sometimes you can see the parents dressed up! Downtown businesses get involved, which creates that small town community feel.”
All in all, the Fall Harvest Festival successfully reunited the community in the heart of downtown Valpo. Downtown’s businesses yet again out-did themselves, illustrating our community’s ability to combine fun with a solution for an issue we face.