Allentown Harvest Festival celebrates arrival of fall with weekend of activities

ALLENTOWN – One of the premiere events in the scenic borough of Allentown, the Harvest Festival, will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13-14. Residents of all communities are invited to visit the town that is nestled at the border of Monmouth and Mercer counties.

Organizers of the Harvest Festival are expecting a turnout of 130 vendors, 80 of whom will be selling handcrafted items. There will be a petting zoo, a bounce house, a classic car show, food trucks and more.

Community groups that will participate include the library, the Allentown High School band, and the soccer, lacrosse and ice hockey teams.

The Allentown Lions Club will host a craft beer garden both days from 1-9 p.m. Members of the Hope Fire Company will accept donations for a fundraiser to secure thermal imaging cameras for the fire company. Demonstrations of a thermal imaging camera will take place.

The Lions said they are matching up to $3,500 toward the purchase of the first camera and organizers of the fundraiser are hoping enough money can be raised to secure a second camera.

The Harvest Festival will feature a Civil War living history weekend at Heritage Park. Visitors are invited to tour the camps at any time.

The tentative living history schedule for Oct. 13 includes the following: 10:30 a.m., march to the Allentown Presbyterian Church cemetery for a gun salute at the grave of Civil War soldier Pvt. Francis Getsinger; 11:30 a.m., cavalry demonstration; 2 p.m., skirmish (battle); 3 p.m., camp tours and hospital demonstration following the battle.

The tentative living history schedule for Oct. 14 includes the following: 10:30 a.m., Confederate and Federal infantry units will perform drill; 11 a.m., cavalry demonstration; 11:30 a.m., Confederate and Federal artillery demonstrations; 2 p.m., skirmish (battle).

Living history demonstrations and displays will be presented on both days. Included are wool spinning, cooking and washing stations, butter churning, uniforms and equipment, telegraphy, signaling, field hospital, U.S. Colored Troops and other living history presentations.

Organizers said the Harvest Festival started about 35 years ago. During its first few years, the event was a sidewalk sale hosted by businesses owners. As the event grew, the business association sought and received permission to close Main Street. The goal was to bring people into Allentown to show what the businesses had to offer.

The Harvest Festival is also a way for the Allentown Business Community Association to give back to the community that supports its  businesses, according to the organizers.

Parking is limited in the downtown area. Visitors may park at Allentown High School, 27 High St., where a shuttle bus will bring them to Main Street.