Dallas Harvest Festival returns Sept. 14, implementing family-themed contests

First Posted: 9/2/2014

The Dallas Harvest Festival will return for its 12th annual event on Sunday, Sept. 14.

While the festival only lasts for a single day, the process for organizing the event begins six months in advance.

Dallas Borough Manager Tracy Carr says planning begins in March and the committee doesn’t put the festival to bed until October, a month after it ends.

“It’s a tremendous undertaking that starts around March and is continuously worked on until, even after the festival, because we still have to clean up, have a wrap-up meeting, asking what went well and what can be approved upon,” said Carr. “Really, it’s a continuous effort from about March until October of every year. The Dallas Borough Council and the mayor support the festival and they allow me to get the festival going. A lot of time and resources are dedicated by the Dallas Borough Council to make this happen.”

One aspect discussed going into every year is the possibility of a different theme.

It was last year that the festival began recognizing certain ideas and groups with each festival. Last year was the “year of the volunteer” to recognize the people whose efforts helped set up the Dallas Harvest Festival, but this year will be the “year of the family.”

“This is the year of the family and recently at the festival open mic we’ve had more and more family-oriented groups and we figured we’d recognize it, because it is the year of the family. That’s the logic behind it,” said Rich Fufaro, festival chair. “It started last year that we wanted to recognize different groups. Last year was the year of the volunteer and we recognized all those people whose efforts helped almost seamlessly a flawless event. Last year we started the concept of recognizing groups and we decided the year of the family would be this year.”

There will be contests to go with the family theme, including the open mic competition and the family photo contest.

The family photo contest will feature three categories: best overall photo, most generations in one photo and the oldest generational photo.

Dallas Twp. Supervisor Elizabeth Martin, who also serves as the festival marketing chair, introduced the idea of the family photo contest.

“The family photo contest is my baby,” said Martin. “We’ve always wanted to do the best that we can for bringing the public in with interacting with the festival, so whenever we can have a contest that’s the best way to reach out. Our Kiss the Pig Contest, which ran for 10 years, was also mine and it was just another way to involve the public in the fun. We do a lot of giving back and we’re very proud of it.”

Martin said with the initiative to start doing an annual theme, the idea for a family-themed festival was an easy one for the festival committee to agree on.

“We started to initiate different themes these few years, so it just kind of fell into place that we would do something to promote families. The memories go beyond just this generation and go back to past generations,” said Martin.

While the concept of the family theme is new, all has not changed within the festival.

Organizations and restaurants, old and new, have seen their fair share of success, thanks to the festival, and Fufaroenjoys the camaraderie the festival brings to Main Street every year.

Locals can still expect to have their favorite food vendors on Main Street, as well as meet new ones.

“We like to think it’s a good form for local organizations to raise money for their projects by selling food, and nobody has ever complained about the food variations we have here,” said Fufaro. “We’re pleased to have a good representation of foods and some of the vendors, local or afar, have very unique products from which to choose. It’s wonderful to draw people to Main Street in Dallas. Over the 12 years, new businesses have come to town and are doing well and we hope that continues. There will be renovations on Main Street that will enhance the attractiveness of Dallas so we’re looking forward to all that progress.”

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