WELCOME to the Harvest Fest, says Hood River’s Jeanie Watts, who stayed busy Sunday after-noon greeting guests, handing out festival pamphlets and stamping hands with a bright orange pumpkin logo. As one of the Harvest Festival’s many friendly volunteers, Watts greeted thousands of people over the weekend — this year wearing sunglasses and sunscreen instead of a rain jack-et — in what has to be one of the most pleasant weather weekends in the event’s history.
LEXI JONES and her brother Angel, members of the Fast and Furriest Bonanza 4-H group, wait for Lexi’s 4-month calf Calli (or its mother, Tiger Lily, not pictured) to determine the next winner in the 4-H Cow Pie Bingo fundraiser Saturday at the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair. A 49-square num-bered grid had been applied to the floor of the pen, and whoever had purchased the square in which the deposit landed would win 40 percent of the sales of that round. Rounds were held ap-proximately every two hours. A line judge would determine the winner. Should a deposit be split evenly across two or more squares, the prize for that round would be divided among the winners.
BOB LANDGREN, owner of the Vanguard Nursery in White Salmon, and Marcello Castañe-da crouch next to some colorful mums Friday. Landgren said buyers could pick between 40 different varieties of mums as well as 26 varieties of kale and cabbage at his Harvest Fest stand. Like his mums, Landgren is a perennial presence at Har-vest Fest and he said he hasn’t missed one since the event began over 30 years ago. Though he has seen plenty of fair-weather Harvest Fests in the past, Landgren thought this year’s event might have been one of the nicest ones he’s at-tended and said he “didn’t re-member being in a T-shirt” ever before.
PUMPKIN ARTIST Jennica Rigert, 5, gets ready for Halloween at Hood River Valley High School FFA’s pumpkin painting fundraiser at the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair Saturday at the fair-grounds. Money raised at the event will help the club finance its trip to the national FFA convention in Kentucky at the end of October.
KAYLA BOHINCE mans the stand Friday afternoon for Draper Girls Country Farm and serves up one of Harvest Fest’s most popular offerings: free apple sam-ples. The Parkdale u-pick farm and fruit stand offered a wide variety of produce at the event, and people showed up in droves at Harvest Fest to sample all the stand had to offer. Bohince, who said she’s been helping out at the stand since 1998, said that the Honeycrisps and Mutsus had proven to be the most popular cultivars of apples at the event as of Friday afternoon. For Bohince, though, you can’t top a Jonagold, which she described as “a nice balance of tart and sweet.”
MID VALLEY Mexican dance members taught other youth, some-times older than themselves, at the Children’s Area at Harvest Fest. “I taught them how to do the steps. It felt good to teach other peo-ple how to Mexican dance. They did pretty good,” said Marina Cas-taneda, 7, right, with fellow member Analleli Pelli, 12. Is the danc-ing hard? “A little,” said Marina.
AT AREA HARVEST FESTIVAL EVENTS, the food is the star. Above, students Dallen Olmstead, Benny Ybarra, James Tickner and Samuel Raulson sell Golden Delicious apples during the Gorge Fruit and Craft Show at the fairgrounds in Odell as part of a Young Life fundraiser. The boys were earning money for youth camps next summer. They held down the high-traffic location in front of the Community Building.
WILLIE AND NELSON of Hood River delivers a heart-felt set of country and popular ballads to a full house in the beer tent on Sat-urday. Malcolm Brown, left, plays bass, Lisa Nelson handles lead vo-cals, Jose Maya plays drums, and Bill Nielsen (Willie) plays guitar. Between two numbers, Brown asked the sound tech, “If I’m not being too much of a diva, can I have a little less of my voice? Bass players are such prima donnas.” Fellow musician Brian Litt had completed his gig but he stuck around for the set. “I just like good music. If it’s good it draws me in,” Litt said. “I was going to go home but I thought, ‘I’ve got to stay for ‘Angel from Montgomery,’” the John Prine song that Nelson sang next.
A FAMILY HEIRLOOM Radio Flyer easily holds several pumpkins, an apple pie, and 46 pounds of Bosc pears and Jonagold apples. Shoshana Dowd of Vancouver, center, and Dina Thorp of Washou-gal; and youngsters Saviah Dowd, 9; Victoria McPherson, 8, and Brodee Dowd, 7, loaded up at Harvest Fest, which Shoshana said “is our thing we do every year.“ Thorp purchased a Meals on Wheels pie for her husband and the Jonagolds — “crisp and great for pie making” — she will bake. “We have to have one for now and one for later,” she said.
READY TO SERVE at the Hood River Chamber of Commerce booth event at Harvest, Hilli Ciavarello and Doug Buckalew sell extreme-ly popular frosted pumpkin cinnamon rolls as part of Packer Or-chards’ stand at the outside farmers market. The local business en-joyed a steady stream of customers looking for cookies, hand pies, jams and jellies, and fresh produce. Also seen: pears on a stick, dipped in chocolate, in the caramel apple tradition.