Celebrate the Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Fall in Ashfield!

Celebrate the Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Fall at the 42nd Annual Ashfield Fall Festival
by Laura Stravino

Ashfield Fall Festival

The Ashfield Agricultural Commission will display entries to the 5th annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin contests. At 12noon on Saturday, anyone may join a team for some friendly competition in the annual “Pumpkingames.” Try your hand at pumpkin bowling, the pumpkin relay race, and musical pumpkins. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Ashfield town center will be bustling with visitors on Columbus Day weekend, Saturday, Oct 6-7, 2012 from 10am-5pm both days. The fall festival offers over 50 arts and crafts exhibits, live music, a wide variety of local agricultural products and prepared foods, book and tag sales, fundraising raffles, and many activities for children. Admission is free and parking is available in lots east of town center.

Visitors will be able to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping, finding everything from fiber and textile arts, woodwork and blown glass to pottery, jewelry, kid’s clothing and more in several venues along Main Street (route 116). Private homes as well as local organizations host tag and book sales, including the big book sale at Belding Memorial Library. The town common, with its hill overlooking the festival booths, is a great place to relax, listen to music, and enjoy a sampling from the many food vendors. Have a bowl of soup, grinder, or kielbasa for lunch and feed that sweet tooth with fried dough with maple cream, apple pie or blueberry cobbler. There are plenty of kid- and vegetarian-friendly options.

There are numerous low-cost kids games, many designed and run by other kids, including mini-golf, marble runs, beanbag and coin toss games, and the ever-popular “Storm the Castle” catapult game. There is also a fidget ladder, face-painting and pumpkin painting.

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41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival 2011

Apples and Pumpkins and Maple Products, Oh My!
The 41st annual Ashfield Fall Festival on Columbus Day Weekend

41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival happens this Columbus Day Weekend! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

One of the most popular small-town festivals in western Massachusetts, the Ashfield Fall Festival runs from 10am-5pm on Saturday, October 8th & Sunday, October 9th in Ashfield town center. There will be over 55 arts and crafts exhibits, live music, a wide variety of local agricultural products and prepared foods, book and tag sales, fundraising raffles, and many activities for children. Admission is free and parking is available in lots east of town center.

Saturday morning kicks off with the Agricultural Commission’s 4th annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin contests. Entries need to be submitted by 9:00 a.m. At noon Saturday, join a team of new or old friends and play in the annual “Pumpkingames.” The young and old alike can compete in pumpkin bowling, the pumpkin relay race, and musical pumpkins.

Enter the 4th annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin contests. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

After a brief absence last year, the “fidget ladder” is returning, so children will again have a chance for one of the “I rang the bell” stickers. There will be a mini-golf game, marble runs, bean bag and coin toss games, the “Storm the Castle” catapult game and more—all low-cost fun for kids attending the festival. Ashfield Community Preschool sponsors face painting and temporary tattoos as well.

Visitors will be able to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping, finding everything from fiber and textile arts, woodwork and blown glass to pottery, jewelry, kid’s clothing and more in several venues along Main Street (route 116). Private homes as well as local organizations host tag and book sales, including the big book sale at Belding Memorial Library and Skalski’s Gigantic Tag Sale.

The iconic Fidget Ladder returns to the festival this year. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The town common, with its hill overlooking the festival booths, is a great place to relax, listen to music, and enjoy a sampling from the many food vendors. Whether your taste runs sweet or savory, bring your appetite to fit in all the festival favorites— from Gray’s Sugarhouse’s iconic fried dough with maple cream and the Boy Scouts’ fresh pumpkin-spice donuts to Elmer’s pulled-pork sandwiches and baked potatoes with all the toppings offered by the Mohawk Music Association. There are plenty of kid- and vegetarian-friendly options.

The 2011 musical entertainment line up, with sponsorship support from Greenfield Savings Bank is as follows:

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New Orleans Meets New England at the Ashfield Fall Festival

Ashfield Fall Festival!

Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys will be sold by Elmer's at the Ashfield Fall Festival. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Wait—Last Sunday in the middle of the 183 people coming in for breakfast, someone said to me, “Do you have those little individually wrapped butters?” And I said, “yes, we do.” And that’s all I remember about the conversation. I don’t remember who it was who asked, but if you are reading this now, did you get what you wanted? Did I just walk away? Did I complete the transaction? Are you a satisfied customer? Can I help you now?

 

(Those are the things you think about in the middle of the night.)

I just dropped a huge sunflower seed into the keyboard of this computer and I can’t get it out. We’ll see what happens next.

You know what this weekend is — it’s Fall Festival at Elmer’s! (Well, it’s not just at Elmer’s, but here’s what is happening during Fall Festival in Ashfield at Elmer’s):

I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.” So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

For breakfast Saturday and Sunday we’ll be serving pancakes and breakfast burritos from 7am to 10:30am (only pancakes and burritos—we figure that covers a number of desired food groups). At 11:00 we’ll start serving Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys made by Shayne Walker Brunet—the daughter of Skippy and Wanda Walker, who made them for our Bluegrass Festival! (If you missed them there, Skippy and Wanda are the people who have the Cochon-de-Lait booth at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Their “Cochon-de-Lait” (pulled pork) is the sandwich Esquire Magazine listed as one of the top sandwiches in America. And we got it right here!) We will not run out! We have a butt-load of pork-butts for this!

 

We actually got the recipe for the Crawfish Pasta from Skippy and Wanda, as well, the first year we did Fall Festival. I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.”

So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! I called Wanda, because she made the best crawfish pasta anywhere around, and she gave me the recipe and here we are to this day. And now her daughter’s coming to make Cochon-de-Lait po-boys for us!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

School Fundraiser and Fall Festival in Ashfield

Notes from Nan: Locally Made Fundraiser & Ashfield Fall Festival
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

Hey! You know what is one of the coolest ideas ever invented? Sanderson Academy coming up with their own catalogue of locally-made products to sell instead of Chinese-made stuff like most other schools sell to raise school money! Claire Mockler and Nancy Hoff came up with the idea, pitched it to local artists and businesses, Linda Taylor laid the catalogue out, the Mary Lyon Foundation printed it, and now Sanderson kids have a 24 page catalogue of things to sell that support local creators and vendors as well as Sanderson! Isn’t that brilliant?? If you don’t have a Sanderson kid near you, some of the local businesses have store copies that you can order from. (We do, Ashfield Hardware does, as does Mo’s Fudge Factor in Shelburne Falls. There may be more, but those are the places I know have them.) It has everything from soap to jewelry to Christmas trees, to yogurt, to holiday gift boxes to CDs to pizzas to syrup, to clothing and lots more—ALL of it produced right here in the Hilltowns! The deadline for ordering is October 18th. (The products still exist after that date, but if you’d like a part of the proceeds of your shopping to go to Sanderson you must order by that date.) Just a fabulous idea! I am very excited about it!

And now I’m excited about dinner this week and even more excited about Fall Festival! Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Ashfield Fall Festival Stomped Butt!

Notes from Nan: Good Fest!  Good Fest!
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

I do not know how one little festival about four blocks long can stomp my butt so soundly, but Fall Festival certainly does! And also, I don’t know how, after the cold-ish and rainy-ish summer we had that we were able to get two such glorious days, right together, holding hands, stepping up and proudly standing bold for the whole two days of the festival, but indeed we did! Wasn’t that a beeyoutiful Fall Festival? Next year I would like to be in on the pre-fest meeting that the trees have when they decide which way they’re going with the colors and the leaves-on-the-branches vs. leaves-on-the-ground, etc. I thought the way they handled it this year with every tree being in some form of color; some with the color just coming in, some full ablaze, some solid color, some variegated, some nearly bare, but really no dead leaves anywhere at all, was a very good choice. I think they should look into doing it that way again for future Fall Festivals, as it really gave the area a good look and made it really look like fall. As chairman of general signs and set décor, I’ll look into that and see if I can get them to do that again next year.

All right. Now I’m going to bed. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 10/11/08-10/17/08

Harvest time.

Garlic braids at harvest time.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page.

Suggest an Event | Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)

HIGHLIGHTED EVENT: ASHFIELD FALL FESTIVAL

The Ashfield Fall Festival happens all weekend long from 10am-5pm.  It’s a wonderful small town festival and a great event to take the family to.  Find out more at: www.ashfieldfallfestival.org.

SATURDAY – 10/11

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Ashfield Fall Festival and a Little Southern Somethin’

Notes from Nan: Fall Festival and a Black Gospel Choir, All in Ashfield on the very same weekend !
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

Okay—

First off, you know that this weekend is Fall Festival in Ashfield! (All of you who do not live in Ashfield should talk among yourselves right now as this particular part will probably not interest you. I’ll let you know when to come back in.)

So! This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) all a y’all come back around to Elmer’s for our good old

  • Authentic New Orleans Crawfish Pasta

which has become an annual tradition for us at Fall Festival.

For Breakfast we will not have our sit-down breakfast of usual, but instead will have our Breakfast Burritos out front at our tent. You can come inside and get other things, (including a few surprises this year!)

Then, Saturday night we will have a special added Fall Fest event:  Read the rest of this entry »

Good Cajun Food All Weekend Long!

Notes From Nan
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

Hey Y’all!

Mahn, I got tings to do, yeah! Can’t waste no time on this heah letta, but I got to tell you what we havin’ fo dinna! It’s gonna be SOME good, yeah!

Friday’s Menu (10/05)

  • We got us some Catfish Cakes
  • an’ Sweet Potato Fries
  • an’ Blackeyed Peas
  • an’ Garlic Greens
  • an’ Cornbread

I know y’all vegetarians is gonna have some version of that for some money, but it’s too late for me to wake Mary up and ask her, so you’ll just have to believe me.

Jes’ like we was eatin’ down on the bayou! AiEEEE!! Bring yo’self a squeezebox an’ a fiddle an’ a triangle an’ we’ll strike up some shank-a-shank music and dance all over the flo’ while we eatin’!

Shank-a-shank—that’s that Cajun music!

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