By Stan Schwartz
It was a full day of events during Eolia’s first ever Harvest Moon Festival, and it spread from one end of town to the other.
Lynn Reuther, with the group Grow With Eolia, said the group worked hard to get everything ready for a fun-filled day for children and adults.
“I think that everything went OK considering the weather,” she said. Although the rain held off for most of the day, the evening’s lighted parade did get a bit damp. Members of Grow With Eolia could be seen everywhere in their hoodies, sporting the group’s logo.
Things kicked off early at the Pike Lincoln Technical Center. Outside, Clopton’s cheerleaders, were on hand as greeters and, of course, to lend a little more cheer to the day. And it was needed considering how fast the temperature had dropped overnight. A cold wind and occasional spurts of rain made the outdoor activities a challenge.
Face painters were available outside the front doors, and the children got their first event. Hidden in a haystack were loads of candy some cash. The children dove into the hay and scoured the ground until all the items were found. Inside, one room was set up for cookie decorating. That came later in the day.
In the field adjacent to the PLTC, they set up a “Backseat Driving Course.” Communication was the key to getting through the course in a timely fashion. With the SXS driver blindfolded, the passenger must verbally guide them through the course using a map, navigating around construction barrels.
Fastest on the course were Madisyn Parrish and Jeaneya Bazan.
Inside, where it was warm and toasty, the PLTC classrooms were turned into a shopping mall, with vendors everywhere. There were a nice variety of items from the vendors.
An amazing array of artisans set up there. Gary Irwin, who owns and operates Pappaw Gary’s Woodshop, brought a variety of his extensive wood works. From cutting boards to carvings, he said he could customize any of his work to add family names or words of wisdom. He can be reached at 636-358-6455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Hill has been creating beautiful hand-made knives for two years. He repurposes farrier files into sharp blades with special wood handles. He also can make the handles out of antlers. He had sold all the ones with those handles before getting to the Harvest Moon Festival. He doesn’t have a company name yet, but he can be reached at 815-257-4748.
Justin Franke operates Oak Street Wood & Steel with his wife, Valerie. He got interested in metalworking a few years ago. He built his own forge, learning to do so by watching online videos. Valerie said the anvil Justin uses has seen use through many generations.
He was working alongside Justin and Ginger Summers, who also operate forge, making custom knives. Valerie said it was nice to have another blacksmith there because sometimes her husband felt as though he was all alone in that line of work.
They can be reached at 660-341-8395 or at email@example.com.
Jane Gartman got the name for her company from her customers. Grammy’s Glitz and Glamor sells quite an assortment of jewelry. She can be reached at 573-470-7673 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I had two or three ideas (for the name),” she said. “We just put them all together.”
Down in town, Aloha Wood Fired Pizza was set up next to the Village Park.
They were preparing to get the Monster Dash 5K race started. Despite the cold, wind and rain, close to a dozen runners were warming up. A new course through town and out into the Haunted Woods took the runners on a multitude of surfaces for an interesting race. Coming in first, second and third, respectively were Adellyn Travis, Angie Hunt and Carie Travis.
Inside the community center, the VFW was selling hot food and beverages.
Because of the cold, all the children’s games were moved indoors to the community center. Even some of the adults joined in some of the events. During a game of musical chairs, it was heartwarming to see the older children purposely giving up their chairs to the younger players.
Sponsors for the festival were A&W Communications, Braungart AG Services, Brown’s Smokehouse Meats, Bulk Supply Transport LLC, Enloe Logging LLC, Eolia Landscape Supply LLC, Gambrill Gaming Pokemon Shop, HomeBank, H&E Concrete LLC, Jackson’s Automotive & Wrecker Services, Law Office of William Cheeseman & Noelle I. Cheeseman, MD Grading & Farm Services, Noah Builders, Paterson Family Farms-Eolia, Prairie Fitness, Silex Banking Co., Baragiola Hardware, Magruder Construction, Shelter Insurance-Eric Hood, Community State Bank, HNB National Bank, Peoples Bank & Trust, and McCoy Blossom Funeral Homes & Crematory.
There was also a car show, costume contest, a trunk or treat, and a dessert silent auction.
The day was topped off by an amazing performances by Clopton’s High School Band and Ruby Leigh, who is competing on the program “The Voice.”
“We hope to have another one next year the same weekend,” Reuther said.