Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Field Trip - Fall Harvest Fest

This was the first year for the Fall Harvest Fest in Belvidere, Illinois. My sister and I both agreed that the organization did a terrific job. Everything was well organized, they had provided interesting and fun things for families to do, the signage was great and it was in a beautiful location along the Kishwaukee river.

All the activities were located across from the historic Baltic Mill, built in 1845. There were guided tours of the mill being given all day.

You will remember that shortly after setting up our pop-up tent (those things are amazing) it began to rain. Lots of rain. The other crafters had heavy plastic panels that attached to the sides of their tents. We did not and so we improvised with blankets and other covering that we thought might be used as table coverings. It all looked a bit sketchy but we soon discovered that our tent sided in fabric was a far superior design.

We sat inside the tent and stared through the rain at the couple selling decorated gourds and birdhouses. One of the other crafters had a phone that could connect to the internet and gave us all a weather report. The weatherman said the rain would work it's way across the area and it would be clear after 10 a.m.

We waited. The rain slackened and we were hopeful. What the weatherman failed to mention was that trailing behind the rain were strong, gusting winds. I've mentioned before that wind in northern Illinois is as part of the landscape as the trees and the crops. But the winds that followed were gusting strongly, the air filling one tent like a balloon, picking it up and tossing it aside. Those crafters soon gave up and left.

Our tent, with it fabric sides that allowed air to breathe through, was steady and strong. Then there's the fact that the fabrics were soaked and heavy, anchoring the sides. It was quite an adventure! My sister and I sat in the tent, her knitting while I crocheted. What's a girl to do?

As promised things cleared up and finally we had a break. Everyone came out of their tents and the husband and wife who owned the Kettle Corn business started popping up their treats - traditional kettle corn (slightly sweet) and caramel corn. My sister ran over to buy our first treat of the day, a bag of kettle corn.

Fresh Kettle Corn

The corn is popped in a very large open kettle and it's wonderful and fresh.

I wandered off to find the bathrooms which were inside the old mill. These interesting wooden sculptures are displayed outside.

Wooden Indian

This shows some of the detail.

Another wooden Indian

One of the local businesses sponsored a wine tasting.


There was a scarecrow contest and all the entrants were lined up facing the street. There were some very clever entries. I'll add a photo of the People's Choice Winner later because my photo editing software is giving me fits right now.

Like I said, the organizers did a great job. They hired a face painter and she was so talented. The kids looked great and were having a good time.

Face Painting

There was an area filled with pumpkins for the taking and just behind that area was the Make-and-Take-a-Scarecrow.

There were piles of clothes.


And piles of hay.


And scarecrows were born!

Woman working on a baby scarecrow.

If you grabbed one of those pumpkins, you had yourself a scarecrow.


At this point the wood fired pizza guy rolled up. Oh yeah! Can you imagine having your own wood fired pizza oven that you could take anywhere with you?

Wood fired pizza.

My sister and I shared a artichoke and Gorgonzola pizza. At this point it seemed a possibility that we would spend more money than we were taking in. Luckily, with the break in the weather people starting showing up and shopping! At this point we were glad we'd stuck it out, unlike some others that had packed up and left.

The park was ablaze with fall colors and what happened next was one of those beautiful serendipitous moments in life.

From behind the mill came a whirlwind of purple, traveling fast across the landscape. It was Quinceanera on the move! A Quinceanera is a girl's 15th birthday celebration and most times it outshines even her wedding day.


Many of these gowns are actually wedding gowns that have been ordered in a signature color. This group was in the park for a photo session before heading off to the party. Can you imagine the stroke of genius ordering this purple gown? It was magic against the blaze orange, red and yellow palette of the forest.

Quinceanera gown

After the early disappointments the day got better and better. In the afternoon one of my readers arrived and introduced herself, it's Marianne!


She lives on a nearby farm with her husband and daughters. She has a wonderful blog called Spend the Thyme Farm. Go visit with her. Marianne and I talked chickens and stuff. I was so happy to see her because you know..... you guys left me sitting all by myself under a tree one time, with a picnic basket full of food. Seriously, how rude!!! HA.

Marianne got free stuff. Do you see how it's a good thing to show up? I totally understand that it's impossible to drive to a craft show in Illinois from say, California or Germany. And that is why I'm going to give you a chance to win free stuff also.

Here's what you do. Leave a comment telling me where you're from. I think we're all interested in knowing where our blogging friends call home. Just say, "Sorry, I couldn't meet up because I live in _________________." Fill in that blank. Lurkers should feel free to de-activate the cloaking device and join in.

Thanks for coming along to the Fall Harvest Fest. After that early rain it was a great day and I'm looking forward to doing this fair again next year.


Vee said...

Shoot! I've been ignoring you all morning because the blog roll isn't updating. Finally figured that out and sure enough, found you just like magic. So glad that the day ended on a happier note and I'm glad that a reader found you to say hello. Yes, that purple dress is beautiful against the trees...here's yet another life event that I had never heard of before...

shortoldlady said...

What a colorful autumn day! And then to see the purple dress- I *love* purple!. Sorry I couldn't make it - I'm in Jackson NJ

Lisa D. said...

Sorry I couldn't make it, I live in northern Alberta, Canada.
And I'm seriously jealous - of the gorgeous day it turned out to be for you, and the beautiful fall colours. Our trees are bare, and we got snow this weekend! I'm also seriously jealous of that pizza oven. I soooo want an outdoor pizza/bread oven!

Pat said...

You fall photos make me homesick. I grew up in central Indiana (Lafayette), spent ten years in Chicago, ventured to Philadelphia and Fort Worth, TX before settling in Macon, GA (husband's job brought us here). Twenty-five years later Macon is home. The lack of spring and fall is difficult, but you just brought fall to life. Thank you!

BJ in TX said...

I spent hours last weekend looking for a craft fair/festival to go to!!! Sorry I couldn't meet up with you...I live in Texas. If we were closer, I would've been there!

Lori said...

It looks like a great day! The colors are gorgeous. I'm from Forreston, IL, not that far away but sorry, no, I couldn't be there as I was babysitting on Saturday.

Catherine said...

I would have loved to come but I live in Moses Lake, WA. It was a little too far for an afternoon drive. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you stuck out the craft fair, sorry I couldn't make it I live in Elsie, Michigan, I also was watching my grand kids, a 2yr old and a 6 week old!
I do enjoy your blog and check it most days.

Bobbie Thompson said...

Sorry I couldn't be there because I live in Scranton,Arkansas.

Bobbie Thompson said...

Sorry I couldn't be there because I live in Scranton,Arkansas.

Tess said...

Sorry, I couldn't meet up because I live in San Antonio, Texas.

QuiltNCards said...

I so enjoy our little trips with you. I couldn't attend the craft fair because I live in CA, but we did try to look up the town on the map... ours must be out of date cause it didnt't show Belvidere, IL on it. Glad the rain subsided and you had a fun day.
<3 U and your blog!

Leslie T. said...

It sounds like it turned out to be a great day! I love the photos!
Sorry I couldn't make it, but I live in California and I'm not good with long commutes. I tend to get tired after the first 37 hours or so. :)
I've wanted a pizza oven forever. I never even thought about one on wheels! How cool would that be? Hot diggity!

MelissaD said...

I was up at Lake Tahoe - where we got a light dusting of snow on Sunday night - so unfortunately I couldn't make the drive. The fall colors are beautiful though :)

Drema said...

So sorry I couldn't be there..I live in Charleston, WV.

Spend the Thyme Farm said...

It was sure fun to meet you!! I had fun roaming about the park looking at all the wonderful handiwork. It was such fun to walk into your little tent, meet your sister, and do a little shopping! I love my apron, by the way, and can't wait for the holidays so that I can wear it.
Keep up the great work. Your craftsmanship is flawless and almost as amazing as your shining personality!
See you while at the keyboard!

Spend the Thyme Farm said...

Ooh, and P.S.
Thank you so much for the FREE wallet. It is lovely! Both my girls asked if they could have it, and I answered that I "might" share it.

Ang. said...

Sorry I couldn't make it! I'm in Sutter, IL. I hope you didn't blow away today! Wasn't the wind nuts???

Janet said...

Sorry I couldn't come meet up with you either. But I live in Charlestown, IN. I love a good craft fair! Our daughter lives in Graylake so maybe next year?!

soonerscotty said...

"interesting wooden sculptures?" hmm???

maybe "racist wooden sculptures." Yeah, that about sums those things up.

Miccosukee Tribal member

Steph said...

Well, I'm in Alabama, and was in the cotton field anyways! That indian sculpture must be standing outside the women's bathroom because it looks like its holding a purse, lol.

Janet said...

Sorry, I couldn't meet up because I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Darn but I wish I could have met up as it looked like such fun!


Liz in PA said...

"Sorry, I couldn't meet up because I live in PENNSYLVANIA!"

Ahhhh PURPLE! I love that color and you were sure Johnny-on-the- Spot to have camera ready for a delightful photo!

Such hard work you and your sister put in to get ready for the Harvest Festival Sale! And you both made the best of a nasty drippy wet situation....but could still laugh and enjoy being together!

I wondered if you would sell me one of those pretty Blue/Greenish Ball Liquid Hand Soap jars? Maybe I should check your online shop, in case they are listed there!

So glad the day turned out to be better than it started, and I hope you both made some good sales!

Liz in PA

MaddiesMom said...

Sorry, I couldn't meet up because I live in Long Beach, CA.

We did get to attend a relatively larger community craft fair here last weekend, but it pales in comparison with yours. Especially when you throw in the countryside with the Fall colors.

Tealovinglady said...

Sorry I couldn't meet up either as I'm in Vacaville, California.

It looks like you had fun despite the weather!

Jenny said...

I love your blog. It has a homey feel. I'd come visit but I live in Colorado Springs. Your post about Hot Springs, AR had me in tears as my Mom lived there and recently passed away. I wonder if she had ever been to that place you posted (whose name escapes me right now). She would have loved it.


Millicent said...

Hi, Suzanne, I'm sorry I couldn't make it, but I'm in Conroe, TX. It sure looked like fun and I do love the fall colors you all have. We are still in the 80s here (actually hit a record a few days ago of 91), so we don't have fall colors until winter. Not sure when the giveaway is, but I just wanted you to know why I wasn't there regardless. Happy Fall!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about this fall festival. I am looking for inspiration lately and you have helped with that! I am sorry I could not make it, as I am in Raleigh, North Carolina.