Last updated: February 16. 2013 5:40PM - 505 Views

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When the first Dallas Harvest Festival was organized in 2003, the committee, headed by a New England transplant named Rich Fufaro, only had 79 days to plan the event.

A manual given to Fufaro by a borough official indicated some items had to be planned as far as 18 months in advance.

The group pressed on, and that festival saw about 75 vendors and 5,000 people line Main Street of Dallas Borough.

A decade has passed since that first fall festival, and the event has evolved to become a staple of Back Mountain seasonal celebrations.

"We didn't know what would happen after that first year," said Fufaro, chairman of this year's event. "But after the second year, we got a little more sophisticated and we knew we had something going."

Fufaro had moved to Dallas from Connecticut in the early 2000s and immediately began working with the Dallas Downtown Visioning Committee to revitalize Main Street and other areas of the borough.

"I moved to Dallas in 2001 and made the proposal in 2002," he said.

Fufaro remembered a festival he and his wife attended in Newburyport, Mass. called Yankee Homecoming.

"It's a festival that's eight days long, and there are sidewalk sales, tours of historical buildings, live music, fireworks," said Fufaro. "I mentioned it to the Dallas Visioning Committee and I pictured us doing the same thing."

He said the idea of the festival is to bring people together during a time when community isn't the first thing on people's minds.

"Things have changed since 30 or 40 years ago," said Fufaro. "We have two parents working and everyone's on the go. We have stretched lifestyles. Whenever you can have this broader sense of community, you can enjoy it when you need to sit down and take a breath."

Though Fufaro said the festival committee has decreased in size, the group is as strong as ever.

"We started with about 25 people, and now we're down to 15, but everyone rolls up their sleeves," he said. "We're always looking for people to get involved."

The 10th year of the festival brings back some of the event's best features while also moving forward with new ideas.

The "Kiss the Pig" contest will feature contestants from years past, such as Dallas Borough Mayor Tim Carroll, Kunkle Fire Chief Jack Dodson, Dallas Middle School Principal Tom Duffy and former Dallas Rotary President Lisa Pretko.

New this year will be Barnum & Bailey clown shows every hour in the Kid's Corner next to the municipal building.

Fufaro said throughout the years, there has only been one goal – to bring people together in the heart of Dallas.

"If people come to downtown Dallas and say, ‘Hey, this is a cool place, I'm glad to be here,' then we've done a good thing," he said.

The 2012 Dallas Harvest Festival

When: Sunday, Sept. 16

Time: Noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Main Street, Dallas Borough

What: A fall festival featuring live entertainment, food and civic vendors, and more.

More info: Visit www.dallasharvestfestival.com or call 675-1950.

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