Dallas Harvest Festival fosters ‘sense of community’

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First Posted: 9/9/2013

If your children love animals, they’ll likely enjoy meeting ducks, rabbits, a potbelly pig, and adoptable dogs on Sunday at the Dallas Harvest Festival, where the petting zoo can be educational as well as fun.

“Last year, one of the chicken even laid an egg in front of the kids,” said Marge Bart from Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge, who plans to bring all of the aforementioned creatures, and possibly some goats.

“It gives kids a chance to see animals they might not see anywhere else.”

Other festival activities include an open-mic talent contest, a farmers market, a competition of floral displays, the chance to ride an old-fashioned fire truck, and the opportunity to watch a different theatrical skit every hour on the hour.

“They all have twists,” said Christina Metz, director of Take the Stage Players. “One is the story of Rumpelstiltskin. It kind of gives the back story as to why Rumpelstiltskin wants the child of the girl that he helped by turning straw into gold, telling it from his perspective rather than the girl’s.

“Another one is ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ told from the giants’ point of view. There are three giants, and they kind of have a misunderstanding.

“We’ve tried to tie some of the shows to the festival theme, Year of the Volunteer,” Metz added.

In keeping with the theme, festival spokeswoman Liz Martin said, festival-goers will be able to vote for their favorite charity. (The monetary votes will be added to those previously collected at various Back Mountain businesses and the Dallas and Dallas Township municipal buildings.)

“Every penny goes to the charity in whose name the vote was cast,” Martin said, adding that the top vote-getter will receive an additional $1,000 courtesy of Frontier Communications and the Dallas Harvest Festival.

Participating charities include the Back Mountain Trail; Blue Chip Farm Animal Refuge; Dallas High School Mini-Thon, which raises money for children with cancer; the Back Mountain Memorial Library; and the First Lt. Michael J. Cleary Scholarship Fund.

Festival visitors also are invited to bring non-perishable food items to the Friends Feeding Friends tent. Along with food previously collected at Thomas’ Markets and by students at four local schools, it will be taken to the Back Mountain Food Pantry.

The festival “gives everybody a sense of community,” Martin said. “It’s a giant street fair. People come to socialize and visit our many vendors and eat some wonderful food.”

For those interested in performing in the open-mic competition, the preliminary competition takes place Friday at 6 p.m. in the George M. Dallas Masonic Lodge, next to Dallas Hardware on Main Street. Sign-up is 5:30 p.m.