Main Street Fall Festival set for Saturday

The first Main Street Fall Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, in downtown Evart. (Courtesy photo)

The first Main Street Fall Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, in downtown Evart. (Courtesy photo)

EVART — As temperatures cool and leaves change colors, autumn has arrived in Michigan. In celebration of the season and of the community, the Main Street Fall Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, in downtown Evart.

The event will feature a chili cook-off, scarecrow decorating contest, “chicken doo bingo,” music, dancing, cookie decorating and more.

“We’re hoping for 200 to 300 people to come downtown for the festival, which is the first,” said Al Weinberg, Evart Downtown Development Authority director.

So far, six chili vendors are signed up for the contest. For $5, festival-goers can taste all the samples and vote for their favorite. Attendees also can vote for their favorite scarecrow.

The scarecrow competition is open to anyone, including individuals, groups, organizations and businesses. Scarecrow contestants must register and pay the $10 entry fee by Friday, Oct. 13, and then have their entry in place by 10 a.m. on Saturday. The scarecrows will remain on display until Nov. 1, when they must be removed by 5 p.m. For more details, contact Weinberg by email at ddadirector@evart.org.

“We have about a dozen scarecrows right now, and that contest is open to anybody,” Weinberg said.

Other festival events include rock painting, cookie decorating, line dancing and music. The “chicken doo bingo” game will be played and is really more of a 50/50 raffle than a bingo game, he explained.

“We have a 4-by-8 cage for the chicken to roam around in eating cracked corn,” Weinberg said. “We sell tickets until we get to the 50th ticket, and then the game begins. There are numbered squares on the floor of the cage, and the number the chicken poops on is the winner of the 50/50 prize. We do this throughout the festival.”

Families with younger children or anyone who enjoys a story may also like the guided story walk. Throughout the downtown, a page or two of a story will be displayed in business windows, down both sides of Main Street.

“It’s kind of a cool thing,” Weinberg said. “So you start at the library and then go to the pharmacy, then the dance studio, and so on. Basically, you walk both sides of Main Street and you’re able to read a book. We’ll have a guest reader and a specific time for everybody to go along and have the book read to them.”

The festival is both an opportunity for community fun and to raise awareness of what’s available downtown, Weinberg said.

“A festival brings life to the town,” he said. “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. This is the brainchild of the Evart Shop Local crew who put on the Main Street art festival and people came downtown, shopped and saw new businesses they didn’t know about. A lot of awareness came out of that, people saying things like, ‘Oh, gosh, there’s a quilt store. Look, a bike shop. I didn’t know there was a computer guy here. The pharmacy has remodeled and has a merchandise section.’

“And, anytime you can bring the community together to have a positive memory, it reinforces, ‘This is my home. I have a positive memory about my home.’ It really does build community.”

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