Beaufort News

Families flock to Habersham Harvest Festival on perfect autumn day

A group of youngsters struggles to eat plates full of pickles in a minute during a pickle eating competition at the Habersham Harvest Festival in Beaufort on Saturday. "It was really sour," said contestant Kailey Kreiss, 10, second from right.
A group of youngsters struggles to eat plates full of pickles in a minute during a pickle eating competition at the Habersham Harvest Festival in Beaufort on Saturday. "It was really sour," said contestant Kailey Kreiss, 10, second from right. jkarr@islandpacket.com

Carnival rides, a pickle-eating contest and petting zoo animals entertained visitors at the 7th annual Habersham Harvest Festival on Saturday in Beaufort.

Families enjoyed a perfect autumn day strolling beneath the overhanging Spanish moss-draped branches at the Habersham Marketplace.

In addition to seasonal activities such as hayrides, the festival featured carnival rides provided by Big Round Wheel of Blacksburg.

New arrivals were met by a 47-foot-tall Ferris wheel with a long line of people stretching nearly back to the scarecrows at the festival entrance. From the air, riders were treated to a bird's-eye view of the festival.

Down below, crowds of people, some pushing children in strollers or walking dogs on leashes, navigated the street past vendors and craft booths selling a variety of items ranging from pillows to neon-colored fish paintings.

Meanwhile, a pickle-eating contest got underway at the main stage area where groups of youngsters competed to see who could wolf down the most pickles in a minute's time.

"I shoved them all in my mouth. I think I had nine or 10," said Kailey Kreiss, 10, of Savannah after competing. "It was really sour."

Further down the street, at the mini petting zoo, Rhonda Alexion, of Beaufort, showed goddaughter Carley Holmes a pair of turkeys strutting around their cage. "You know when I tell you, 'you little turkey?' Well, that's a turkey," she said.

A second petting zoo featured farm animals such as goats and exotic creatures like llamas. Next to the petting zoo, a carousel was spinning a few feet from an attraction offering rides on real ponies.

As the lead singer of the band NightTrain sang a country song about a honky tonk angel turning his life around, festival goers bellied up to a variety of food vendors. The Tavino's wood-fired pizza booth was doing a land-office business, while nearby, the pulled-pork tacos with blue cheese slaw featured at the Downtown Curbside Kitchen food truck were selling like hotcakes.

New to the festival was a collection of whimsical scarecrows adorning the entryway. The scarecrows, which were a popular background for festival goers to take selfies and group photos in front of, were a collaboration between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern Beaufort County and the Habersham Builders League, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs.

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