A lovely fall Saturday lent the perfect atmosphere for the 39th annual Yadkin Valley Harvest Festival in Yadkinville. The streets of downtown Yadkinville were lined with food and craft vendors, activities for kids and booths from a number of local service organizations, churches and businesses.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It’s an absolutely gorgeous day which guarantees us a very large crowd. Folks are out here in masses and we’re really excited about it,” said Yadkin Arts Council President John Willingham at the start of the festival. “Thirty-nine years we’ve been doing this, it’s the oldest festival in the region, and it really is special for the community and the citizens.”
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center Director Lindsay Craven said the tradition of the festival combined with the new ideas which spring up every year are what drive participation at the event.
“It’s the oldest festival in the area and I think that the response to it by the community and the turnout proves that people feel it is a tradition and they want to support it,” Craven said. “Every year we try to revamp it in someway or another to keep it fresh and new. Just because it’s the oldest doesn’t mean it can’t be innovative and new every year.”
The newest addition this year was the Ireland Beer Garden and Yadtel Lounge. Two local companies sponsored an area where adults could enjoy some local beer selections and cool off in the air conditioning and catch up on college sports.
A number of local emergency service organizations were taking advantage of the festival as a way to get vital safety information to the public. The Yadkinville Fire Department was teaching families the importance of having an emergency evacuation plan in case of a fire in the home.
The Yadkin County Emergency Services department also had staff on hand giving basic CPR training. Emergency Services Operations Manager James Collins said they are hoping to reach out to the public at various events to teach the importance of knowing some basic CPR techniques. Studies have shown the public can play a vital role in saving lives if they know the signs of cardiac arrest and how to begin chest compressions on someone suffering from cardiac arrest. The slogan “recognize arrest, hands on the chest” is what the group hopes to promote and they were doing so at the Harvest Festival with mannequins to show children and adults how to do chest compressions.
“It’s important for us to get the information out to the public so that they can make a difference when someone suffers a cardiac arrest,” Collins said.
Overall, organizers and festival-goers said they were pleased with the festival.
“The 39th Harvest Festival is another great event, we’ve got great weather, great participation and a great place to come and visit,” said Bobby Todd of the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce.
“All in all it’s just a good festival. We call it the granddaddy of all festivals,” added Willingham.
Craven said next year’s event will be even more special.
“Next year is the 40 so we’ll have big plans for that,” she said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.