This year’s Stillwater Harvest Fest’s “giant pumpkin weigh-off” on Saturday, Oct. 12, will be a border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to festival organizer Cassie McLemore.
LeMore expects to see a Minnesota state record-setting pumpkin entered in the contest.
“We’re looking at, at least a 1,700 pound pumpkin from Minnesota,” she said. “We’re told there’s a bigger one from Wisconsin.”
But the weigh-off will be only one of many autumn-themed activities at the annual festival, which begins at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday in Lowell Park.
This year McLemore is emphasizing the third annual street dance, which runs 5-11 p.m. under a big tent in south Lowell Park.
“That’s a fairly new event that not a ton of people know about, and we’re growing it,” she said.
Three years ago, when McLemore took over to job of organizing the festival, she and her nonprofit Summer Tuesdays, Inc., introduced the dance as a throwback to old-fashioned fun.
“The idea behind it was just to build a sense of community and to have something in the evening that’s fun, like an old-fashioned street dance,” she said. “It’s really just kind of a fun way to connect with your neighbors in a place where you can do it as a family.”
Admission is free and open to all ages. Local beer will be sold.
The bands Thrift Store Sonata and RAMM Band will perform live music for this year’s dance.
Besides the street dance, this year’s festival features past favorites such as the chili cook-off on Saturday and the pumpkin regatta Sunday, which both pit area businesses against each other in friendly competition.
Local chefs are invited to participate in the cook-off, which is judged by guests. Nacho Mama’s is returning as this year’s defending champion, McLemore said.
“It’s a fun rivalry between local restaurants,” she said.
The cook-off tasting is 1-5 p.m. and costs $10. It can be combined with the festival’s micro-brew and wine tasting event for a total of $30.
On Sunday, another rivalry returns, as representatives from local bars climb into hollowed-out pumpkins and see who can paddle the fastest in the pumpkin regatta, which starts at 2 p.m.
Brine’s, the defending champ, will face competition from Freight House, Meister and Pub 112.
Another popular event, according to McLemore, is the giant pumpkin drop, in which a pumpkin will be released from 100 feet in the air. It will happen at 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
A complete schedule of events, information and tickets are available at harvestfeststillwater.com.
Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]