Davis Fall Festival to celebrate Halloween early

The annual Davis Fall Festival is back this Saturday.

“We have the Fall Festival on this weekend every single year; this is probably our 30th Fall Festival at least and it’s a celebration of the harvest and the abundance of what’s available at the market,” said Randii MacNear, market manager of the Davis Farmers Market.
MacNear said the festival is a sort of customer appreciation day.

“We decorate the market beautifully with corn stalks, fall colors and themes,” MacNear said. “We have a little bit of a Halloween theme and it’s sort of just celebrating the harvest, which is really what the Farmers Market is all about.”

The festival will be held at Central Park during the normal Farmers Market time, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Many vendors will be at the festival.

“We try and bring the farm to the market a little bit,” MacNear said. “We just try to kind of connect the children to agriculture.”

Additionally, the Farmers Market tries to bring many animals to the festival. The California Raptor Center will bring rescued birds. Woodland farmer Jim Neilson will bring about six or seven baby pigs for petting. Last year, there was a llama at the festival; a few years ago they had a pony and chickens.

Some other booths include Davis High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) pre-selling tri-tips and Christmas trees, and local 4-H clubs hosting craft booths for kids. Central Park Gardens will give away free flower seeds and hold a plant sale. UC Davis Chemistry Club and Explorit Science Center will be present with science activities for kids.

A main focus of the festival is the activities for children. The Sutter Davis Hospital, one of the sponsors of the Davis Farmers Market, will host a costume parade for children at 11 a.m. on the Oak Tree Deck. Although it is not a contest, all the participants of the parade will get a prize.

“We started it last year and I came up with it as part of our sponsorship, and the Fall Festival is another big day at the market, so I wanted to do something for the kids. This is the second year and we’re hoping to do it every year,” said Courtney Wilson, marketing coordinator of Sutter Davis Hospital.

At the Sutter Davis booth, the nurses from the birthing center will be doing arts and crafts with the children. Many of the other booths will have crafts for children as well.

The Davis Creamery will be serving pumpkin ice cream. In addition, other food vendors will be selling breakfast and lunch, and many vendors will have treats for the children.

“Our usual Saturday market food vendors will be there: Hotdogger; Montoya’s Tamales; Kathmandu Kitchen; Fat Face; A Farmer and a Baker; Raja’s Tandoor; Davis Creamery; and coffee and warm-from-the-oven baked goods,” said Shelly Keller, events and marketing coordinator for Davis Farmers Market, in an email interview. “Where else can you get a farm-fresh popsicle for breakfast?”

This year organizers have also expanded the gardens and the artwork in Central Park. There will be live music by the Peter Franklin Band.
People are encouraged to come in costume and get in the Halloween spirit early.

“We have a lot of students that love the market and we’d love to have them come. It’s a lot of fun and it’s just really cute; some of the kids are in the most adorable costumes you’ve ever seen,” MacNear said. “We certainly would love UC Davis students to join us for that day.”

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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