Many communities in the Annapolis Valley hold annual harvest festivals or fall fairs. These festivals were first started as a celebration to honour the bounty of the land and the crops it produced.
After long hours of planting the seeds and months of caring for the produce during the summer, everyone is anxious to see what the fall crops will bring.
Many factors determine a good crop from a poor one, soil, sun, rain, seed quality to name just a few. Lives can be drastically changed according to the crop harvested in the fall season.
It was believed long ago that a big feast and celebration held after the harvest not only thanked the Gods for the bountiful crops of that year, but also pleased them to help guarantee another good crop for the next year. This tradition has been kept up over the years for many other reasons also.
It was a time when the difficult work was completed and a more relaxed season lay ahead. It is also the time when the fruits and vegetables taste their best. The spectacular fall colors add a beautiful natural backdrop that deserves its own celebration.
The eastern end of the Annapolis Valley from Kentville to Windsor have joined together to provide a full month of pumpkin fun and harvest festivals. There will be over thirty pumpkin events going on and twenty-five restaurants will be participating with harvest meals and pumpkin desserts.
Farm markets and U-Picks will be going full force with all your favorites. You will also find art displays, concerts, dances, races and games happening in several communities throughout the month. Make sure to check out my page on the Valley Pumpkin Festival to see ideas about what all will be going on!
Head out to Sheffield Mills in early September for their Annual Harvest Festival held at the Community Hall, 98 Black Hole Road. The events are free of charge starting at 11 am and you will be welcomed into a true country atmosphere.
While there stop into their Country Store which offers a variety of fresh local produce at very reasonable prices. A pantry sale will be going on all day with lots of delicious baking for sale. Attend the Goods and Services Auction to bid on a wide range of fabulous goods and different useful services.
The Children's Parade is always a popular event, especially for the children. After the children's games can include a variety like coin toss, throwing a ring around a duck, bursting balloons, a fish pond, a spin to win and the all-time favorite sucker pull. There will be horse and hay rides along with a petting zoo put on by the local 4-H club.
Competitions include a cow milking competition, an archery shoot and the fire fighter competition. Entertainment is provided during the day and food can be purchased at the Harvest Fair Canteen or at the Barbecued Chicken Supper.
Just follow the Eagle Head signs to the community after taking exit 12 off Highway 101 for this fun for the whole family event. If you would like more information you may visit their website.
Around the end of September keep watch for the Melvern Square Harvest Festival organized by the Melvern Square and Area community Association. This annual event has grown very popular as the whole community comes out to celebrate their community and the tradition of the fall harvest. There are events for both the young and more experienced contestants.
Head to the front lawn at the Melvern Square Community Hall by 1 pm to watch the weigh-in of the giant pumpkins. Local business help support this contest by providing cash prizes for the winners of both the adult and child's categories. The winning pumpkins from 2006 weighed-in at 688 lbs in the adult category and 425 lbs for the Child's category.
There are also lots of prizes given out for the best decorated pumpkin grinner. Categories in this event include both carved and painted pumpkins and are open to kids of all ages.
Then head out to the back yard for the tractor skills competition. This event is popular with the teenagers and for the adult drivers to. But let's not forget the kids. There will be push peddle John Deere tractors for the younger children. Several businesses in the area have also provided prizes for these events.
There will be raffles and draws going on throughout the afternoon, including a draw for a huge harvest basket filled to the brim. If you feel a little hungry there will be both homemade apple and pumpkin pie available along with coffee and tea. Check out the Melvern Square website for more information and dates for this event.
There are ghost in the town of Annapolis Royal, especially during the last two weekends of October! At this time several different venues throughout town hold special ghostly events including the Historic Gardens, The Sinclair Mews Museum, Fort Anne National Historic Site, The O'Dell House Museum and Kings Theater.
During this time the stores and many of the citizens in town will decorate there buildings and grounds with haunting decorations. This new event is growing every year so don't miss it!
Kentville celebrates the season with a huge Harvest Festival Kick-Off held the first of October in Centre Square. The day starts off at 9:30 am with greetings and the proclamation from the Town Crier. Then the entertainment starts with performances by several local groups and performers. At 10 am the many vendors open up with food, produce, crafts and much more. This is a great opportunity for you to buy local fresh produce or get a head start on some of your Christmas shopping.
There is a Pumpkin People workshop you may attend to get some hints on making your own display. The kids can enjoy the Inflatable Children's Game and Bouncer, Children's Art, Barrel Train Rides, Pony Rides and Hay Rides during the afternoon free of charge all being held in Centre Square.
The official opening of the New Minas Family Fun Fall Harvest Fest kicks off at twelve o'clock noon the first weekend of October in the Lockhart & Ryan Memorial Park. After the opening remarks the whole afternoon is full of fun events for the whole family.
There will be Old Fashioned Wagon Rides, Pony Rides, and a Magic Show for the kids. If you are hungry try out the corn Boil or the BBQs going on. Try your hand at the many contests like the Corn Shucking contest, Corn on the Cob Eating Contest, Apple Bobbing Contest, an Apple Pie Baking Contest and a Pumpkin Carving Contest.
There will be entertainment going on throughout the day and several vendors will be set up. The kids will love the special guest that will be making appearances during the day. It all sounds like a fun day for the whole family to get out and enjoy the Fall Harvest Festival.
Wolfville joins into the Valley Pumpkin Festival with several Fall Festival events going on there. In nearby Greenwich, The Hennigar's Farm Market will be having their Farmersgolf at their Farmersgolf Farm Park & Trail. This has become quite popular with the locals and visitors to the area. While there check out their petting zoo, trike track and nature trail.
The town of Wolfville will be hosting a Pumpkin Carving Showcase and a Pumpkin Art Mosaic by the Alliance of Kings Artist. This will be unveiled at the Clocktober Fest which is a Celebration of Food and Fun in Wolfville, a showcase of the Culinary Passport participants.
The Pumpkin Palooza held at the Wolfville Farmer's Market.
There will also be several performances fit for the season put on by the Acadia Performing Arts Series, W.A.C.K.Y. Films and Fundy Film Society. While in town make sure to stop into one of the local restaurants for some local fall harvest food or stop by Paddy's Pub for their Paddy's Pumpkin Ale.
Hantsport has several harvest festival events going on for the Valley Pumpkin Festival. Most of their events happen over the last two weekends in October and the times vary. One of the favorite events is the Cemetery Tour at the Riverbank Cemetery, Hantsport. This event starts at 7 pm and is free. Bring a flashlight. At 8:30 the winners of the Short Story Contest Winners sponsored by The Friends of the Hantsport Library are announced at Churchill House. A new event for 2012 is the Moonlight Tour of Churchill House. This sounds like an interesting event to take in as there are interactive drama and more costumed interpreters. The event is free but food bank donations are appreciated.
The next day features events like the Spooktacular Challenge Digital Scavenger Hunt held at the Hantsport Fire Hall, which is also a free event but food bank donations are appreciated. there is a Quilt Show at St. James United Church, a free will offering aty 1 p.m. followed by the Women's Institute Harvest Tea from 2 - 4 pm. This year (2012) featuring a presentation by writer and gardening expert Jodi Delong, the Little Miss Harvest contest and other tables and booths, including the ever-popular fortune teller-Miss Zelda. Free Will offering. Hantsport Fire Hall.
Make sure to enjoy another new event starting in 2012 The Harvest Fest LIVE Talent competition for local performers, dancers and musicians. It will be held between 2 - 5 pm on the HMCC grounds- rain location Hantsport Fire Hall. During the last weekend of October remember to take part in the Pumpkin Parade going down Main Street & the Children’s Party parade which begins at 6:30pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Check your local paper for the timings and changes for these events.
You will just have to go visit Windsor during the Pumpkin Festival; they have so many events running throughout the month of October. The young and the young at heart won't want to miss the Miniature Train Rides held at the Trecothic Creek & Windsor Railway. Of course they will have their annual Pumpkin Weigh Off held at the Exhibition Grounds. Remember this is the "Land of the Big Pumpkins", made famous by the Howard Dill record breaking pumpkins. Many of the Giant Pumpkin Growers in the valley still use his famous seeds.
There are many Bazaars, Harvest Dinners, Farmer's Markets, Auctions, Harvest Craft and Bake Sales happening throughout the month. The Haliburton House is holding the Mod Gourd Scavenger Hunt. At Victoria Park they will be holding a Pumpkin Idol contest. The Children's Wish Foundation Parade of Pumpkin Paddlers goes from the Exhibition Grounds to the Waterfront where the very popular Annual Windsor - West Hants Pumpkin Regatta will take place. This regatta has become famous right across Canada and the United States. There will be a Perfect Pumpkin Painting Contest and it all winds up with a Halloween Dance held at the Community Centre.
There are many more Fall Harvest events being held throughout the valley in many of the smaller communities. Many of the community halls will be busy with harvest dinners where delicious meals are served made from the produce harvested in the local area. These are always delicious home cooked meals topped off with either apple or pumpkin pies. Check out my Annapolis Dinners Page for a list of some of these that are annual events.
As I hear of any other Fall Festivals I will add them to this page so come back often to check it out.
If your organization has an annual Harvest Festival you would like included on this page please let me know about it. You do that by filling in my Annapolis Events Contact Form. It's easy to do but please remember to include as much information as you can. When I receive your submission I will go over it and I may have to contact you for more information before I list the event.
Remember I am only adding annual events to this page, but still send in other events as I will post them on my Annapolis Valley Vacation Facebook Page.
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Sam Langford originally from Weymouth Falls was a Black Canadian boxing standout of the early part of the 20th century. He was known as the "Boston Bonecrusher," "Boston Terror" and, his most infamous nickname, the "Boston Tar Baby."