Carroll’s “Harvest Festival” looks to continue its growth in popularity Saturday with more offerings for young and old. This will be the second year for the event, which was created by combining Carroll County’s Pumpkin Festival with the Historic Hillsville Chili Shootout.
Town Marketing Director and Event Coordinator Teresa Catron said information on each event can be obtained online at harvestfestivalva.com. Information on the Chili Shootout may be obtained at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Ammie Shupe at (276) 733-3062. The Shootout will be held rain or shine and will feature a new panel of judges this year.
“We close the streets and the combination has made it a large event. Each year has grown but with combining the events, people start asking about it in January,” said Catron. “We had a surprising synergy occur last year. I think that was because we had something for everyone. It was literally, centrally located in town. It was very well received. We have all age groups downtown. Our volunteers are really excited. They put a lot of effort and time into this. We love working with the county on this.”
She said the Harvest Festival (held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will offer many free activities for children including pedal tractors, a corn pit, a bounce house, a petting zoo, pumpkin painting (for all ages), sling shots, cannons, local bluegrass music and the local artisans Arts and Crafts Village with demonstrations returning in the historic Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home.
Catron said “The Antecedents” will be the featured band at the Friends Of Hillsville Chili Shootout. This group features folk, roots, pop, alternative and country tunes. Billy Steele is on vocals/guitar; Erika Esperanza is on vocals/keyboard/percussion; Rob Abbot on vocals/Guitar; Eric Hall on bass; Steve Brooks on Drums/percussion and Adam Hall on Saxophone. According to the group’s website, their motto is “Songs of hope. The Past is the Present is the Future. Learn, Create, Embrace.” They will be playing from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We also have added a $250 cash prize for the best booth showmanship at the Chili Shootout,” Catron said. “The creativity we see in people decorating their booths is amazing. We’re looking forward to it. This has become one of our larger events.”
Those hungry after all the Pumpkin Festival activities will find a variety of food trucks and vendors. The tentative list includes Taylor Farms, Creek Bottom Brews Food Truck, Follow That Truck and Mayberry BBQ Sauce. Local nonprofits and churches will tempt participants with pork skins – fried on-site, roasted corn, baked potatoes, cotton candy and sno cones. The Shootout’s “Beverage Garden” will also return.
The Shootout categories tentatively include open (red) chili and salsa divisions with teams required to submit one quart of chili for judging. Each team must provide a minimum of four gallons of chili for public tasting. Public tasting is scheduled from 2:30 p.m. until the chili runs out. Tasting wristbands go on sale at 2 p.m. There will be a first place people’s choice prize/trophy awarded in addition to the judges’ awards. (The chili competition is set to begin at 11 a.m. with cooking set to end at 2 p.m.)
The Shootout’s Cornbread competition (for ribbons) will also return featuring non-traditional cornbread-cornbread with mix-ins (meats and vegetables). Judging criteria will include taste, appearance (presentation) and texture. Chili teams are encouraged to enter in this competition as well. There are not strict rules in this division other than it must be made from scratch. (Participants must note if locally-sourced ingredients are used.)
“The Cornhole Tournament this year will include two categories,” said Catron. “One is casual, which is single elimination and the competitive which is double elimination. Casual is for those who want to get out and have fun and potentially win $100 dollars. (Second place is $50 and the entry fee is $5 per team. It is limited to 25 teams.)” This tourney is set to begin at 11 a.m.
In the competitive division, a total of $1,100 will be given away with the first place winner getting $700, second place $300 and third $100. The team entry fee is $30 for the tournament which is sponsored by The Friends of Hillsville. The tournament is set to begin at 1 p.m. and is limited to 40 teams. This tourney is set to begin at 1 p.m. Registration forms may be turned in at Town Hall at 410 N. Main or by contacting Laura Beth Parnell at email@example.com
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave