All the Best New England Traditions Celebrated at the Ashfield Fall Festival

The 39th Annual Ashfield Fall Festival Takes Place Columbus Day Weekend

Soup Kitchen at 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival

During the Ashfield Fall Festival the Congregational Church cooks up hearty soups, hosts a craft sale and tag sale. All are welcomed. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Exhibitors of fiber and textile arts, woodwork, blown glass, pottery, jewelry, kid’s clothing and more will display and sell their wares in several venues along Main Street. Food vendors will serve locally-grown or prepared foods— from the iconic fried dough with maple cream and apple pie with a slice cheddar, to kielbasa grinders and chowder.

Saturday morning kicks off with the Agricultural Commission’s second annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin “challenge cup” competition. At noon Saturday, teams formed on-the-spot for the annual “Pumpkingames” will compete in a variety of games such as pumpkin bowling and the pumpkin relay race.

If you’re more of a spectator than a competitor, bring your stuffed baked potato and hot pumpkin donut over to the festival stage and listen to great music from local performers such as Radio Free Earth, Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads, and Lui Collins. Several teams of Morris Dancers will also be on hand to keep you in the fall festival spirit.

Families will enjoy the low-cost activities for children, including face-painting, a bounce house, the “fidget ladder”, sand art, pumpkin painting, and an arcade of games created and run on the Town Common by local youth. Tag sales will be held both days, and bargain hunters and booklovers alike will enjoy several book sales.

The 2009 musical entertainment line up:

On Saturday, Oct. 10

  • 10 a.m., Banish Misfortune, this “session” band plays traditional Irish and Scottish tunes.
  • 11 a.m., Radio Free Earth, an eclectic, rootsy band plays “crossover” music mining the world’s songbook.
  • 1:15 p.m., Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads. A jigging phenomenon who performs traditional Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle tunes.
  • 2:30 p.m., Bluegrass showcase with James Delnero and Lost Mountain.
  • 3:30 p.m., Morris dancers. Valley groups Juggler Meadow Morris men, the
    Rapscallions and Wake Robin are joined by dancers from around New England.

Sunday, Oct. 11

Cummington Family Center - Ashfield Fall Festival

Fun for the whole family at the Ashfield Fall Festival! The Cummington Family Center offers information for parents with young kids. The Ashfield Community Preschool host games for all kids to play. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

  • 10:45 a.m., Bluegrass and roots music showcase with The Academy Freightshakers.
  • Noon, Lui Collins, an internationally recognized recording artist who is the director of Hilltown Music Together and Kids’ Jam.
  • 1:15 p.m., The Hilltones present classic and country rock, blues and oldies.
  • 2:30 p.m., West County Jazz, an ensemble that plays classics from the modern jazz repertoire, with a little bossa nova.
  • 3:45 p.m., A Celtic showcase with Manfred Gabriel and special guests.

The Ashfield Fall Festival (www.ashfieldfallfestival.org) is a volunteer-run event that raises funds for local community organizations and for the Ashfield Citizens’ Scholarship Fund. The event takes place on both public and private property, indoors and outdoors, and generally attracts a large crowd. For the safety and comfort of all, we ask that you please leave your dogs at home.

Photos from 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival.

4 Comments

  1. Beth Senecal said,

    October 21, 2009 at 7:02 am

    I agree that untrained dogs should be hept at home. I work very hard to train my dogs so they will behave in public. I recently attended the South Hadley Center Columbus Day Fair and it was packed with people and many dogs. I did not hear one yelp. My dogs ignored everyone and kept by my side. The problem is with untrained dogs and irresponsible owners.

  2. WinterGreen said,

    October 10, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Hi all:

    I love the Ashfield Festival and have to say I agree with the no-dog policy. If all dogs were so domesticated that they would obey our every command, it would be one thing (and frankly, then they would be acting counter to much of their enthusiastic, in-the-moment dog nature!), but such is not the case. So I agree that having dogs along is simply not suitable for a large, very busy event with lots of little people who can be intimidated (not to mention bowled over by the big guys). Dogs are wonderful and it would be great if they could accompany us more places…but not this type of event. I love my dog but I would not take him here!

  3. October 1, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks for letting us know how you feel about dogs not being allowed at the Ashfield Fall Festival. I can see how folks who include their canine friends in their daily activities could feel ostracize by not being allowed to bring their furry family members to town on the day of the festival. I’m so sorry to hear you are feeling this way.

    I personally LOVE the Ashfield Fall Festival and appreciate the festival organizers intentions to keep the festival safe for all (but sadden that some community members might feel excluded as a result). It’s the quintessential New England autumn festival right here in the hilltowns! My family loves going every year and we look forward to going again this year.

    - Sienna

  4. Beth Senecal said,

    October 1, 2009 at 6:11 am

    The Ashfield Fall Festival has a pall of meaness ever since signs have been placed every two feet that state NO DOGS ALLOWED!!!!!! Ok I think we all get the message. I have lost all interest in this fair. At one time it was a sweet country fair that drew people from far and wide and it welcomed every member of the family – even the furry ones. Times have changed and this fair is no longer an event for the whole family.


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