Fruit, fun, and crowds abound

Pumpkins turned from orange to every other color during at Harvest Weekend.

It was not magic or some effect of the unseasonably warm weather, but the creative efforts of kids.

Paint pots for gracing gourds with splashes and stripes of purple, red, green and blue were among the more popular parts of the Hood River Harvest Festival in Hood River and the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair in Odell, which both ran Saturday and Sunday.

“I honestly just tried to put tons of color on it,” said Nicholas Letham of Camas, 8, admiring his brightly decorated pumpkin.

The finished pumpkins created a festive décor, as they lined hay bales until families collected them for the trip home.

From beer gardens and pie-eating contests to arts and crafts and a horse show, the weekend provided something for just about every taste.

“Wonderful; really, really successful,” said first-year coordinator Ashley Huckaby on Monday as she helped with clean-up at the Event Site, sweeping up piles of hay, to which she is allergic.

“We had huge numbers, 6,000 on Friday and about 15,000 on Saturday,” she said. “The weather was absolutely perfect, and everything just came out very well.”

At the Fruit and Craft Fair, “It went great, we had a really large turnout,” said Fair Manager Clara Rice.

One of the most remarkable results of an event with hundreds of people attending was the amount of litter when it was all over, according to Rice. There was zero litter.

“Our staff was amazed, and very grateful,” Rice said.

Huckaby was particularly pleased with how well things went at the children’s activities area, coordinated by Providence Health Systems, and organized by teens with Leaders for Tomorrow from Hood River Valley High school.

“Definitely with good weather like this families come out so I’m excited that we will expand it next year, there was so much interest and involvement from the community groups and nonprofits,” Huckaby said.

Mexican dance lessons, pumpkin painting, and Zumba dancing were just a few highlights of the event. The History Museum of Hood River County also hosted activities.

Rice said vendors were “very happy” with the event, which benefited from prime weather.

The FFA barbecue was sold out by 2 p.m. Saturday, the Cow Pie Bingo for 4-H was a success, and 36 riders entered the open horse show, a new event at this year’s autumn fair.

“Also, we had maps here of the valley and we were handing those out and answering all kinds of questions about other events going on in the valley,” Rice said.

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