CANTON - The first annual North Country Harvest Festival kicked off yesterday at Honey Dew Acres and will continue today with another full slate of activities.
Proceeds from the event will benefit The Little River School, a private alternative education school on the Canton-Russell Road in Canton.
Emily Cambridge Carrier organized the event and teachers the youngers at Little River. She said the school is trying to raise funds for an addition which would house four classrooms, alleviate current congestion issues and allow it to increase its enrollment from 35 to 40 students.
We just really need to expand our space, she said. Right now we have teachers teaching in the hallway.
Little River Director Steven A. Molnar said the project is expected to cost nearly $100,000.
We did a little bit of fundraising last year and raised approximately $25,000 towards the $98,000 project, he said, adding money wasnt their only reason for hosting the event.
Cornell Cooperative Extension used to do a fall festival, but they dont anymore, so we felt like we could do this event, he said. Were a school, so what do we do best? Work with kids. So we wanted to do this and have a kid-friendly event.
Ms. Carrier, whose parents, Peggy McAdam and Mark Cambridge own Honey Dew Acres, said, despite the chill in the air, she was glad the weather was cooperating.
Im glad we have nice weather, she said. It was snowing yesterday (Friday) while we were setting up.
Among the highlights of the days activities was pumpkin chucking and Bossy Bingo.
Ms. Cambridge explained Bossy Bingo is a game, where people buy squares for $5 each prior to releasing a cow into a pen that has been divided into a grid.
We let the cow into the pasture and wherever it plops is the winner, she said, adding the holder of that square will receive half of the money collected.
As for pumpkin chucking, Travis Bellinger was operating a trebuchet that he built and launching pumpkins, sometimes as far as 80 to 100 feet into the air.
While he was flinging pumpkins across the sky, Mr. Bellinger said the trebuchet has a much darker history, noting the machines were originally used by the French as medieval wartime weapons.
This was like their castle wall assault, he said. They would have a boulder covered in some sort of oil so that it could be lit on fire.
Taking a break from operating the machine, which he built himself, Mr. Bellinger said hes had mixed results with it so far.
We had one in the very beginning go about 100 feet, but I think that was a fluke, he said, adding for next years event hes hoping to make the pumpkins fly even farther.
Our goal every year is to make it bigger and launch them farther.
Entertainment today will start at 1 p.m. with Barb Heller and Don Woodock playing until 2 p.m. From 2 to 3 p.m. the Canton High School Jazz Band will perform and the day will conclude with the Dan Salpough Jazz Collective.
In addition to the slate of entertainment, the festival also includes childrens games, face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, crafts, photo booth, haunted house and farmers market.
Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and free for children under 12.