Bon Accord – Although the fall harvest may be a little bit away, the annual Harvest Days Festival hits Bon Accord this weekend for three days. Organizers are once again hoping to lure residents from Morinville and surrounding area to the community for what they believe will be another great weekend event for families.
Festival chair Amanda Houlihan said the annual volunteer-run festival gets bigger and better each year and this year is no exception. “It’s going to be a good time. There’s lots to do for all ages,” she said. “It’s the volunteers that keeps it going and the people coming to attend the event. It makes it successful every year. It’s getting bigger and better every year. Everybody just loves it. It is a cheap entertainment for the kids, and it’s local. We’re getting more and more people each year from further and further away.”
The weekend kicks off Friday night with a ball tournament that will run through all three days of the festival. Houlihan said the annual tournament draws teams from throughout the region and beyond. This year’s event will feature a dozen teams.
Saturday is the main day of activities, commencing with the annual Harvest Days parade at 10 a.m. The annual march of floats up Main Street will be followed at approximately 11 a.m. by a demonstration by the Knights of the Northern Realm, an Edmonton-based group of medieval experts who do battle in full armour.
The Festival Grounds will be open from noon until 5 p.m., offering a variety of activities, including carnival games, mechanical bull riding, jumping castles, a rock climbing wall, and a bazaar inside the arena. Warm and cold-blooded animals will be on hand through the Zoo To You reptile exhibit and Funny Farm petting zoo. Pony rides will also be on hand for children to participate in.
The Town of Bon Accord’s contribution to the festival is their annual Equinox event, an opportunity to learn about astrophotography. “It’s seeing the sun during the day and looking at stars during the day,” Houlihan said of the photographic opportunity.
But celestial stars are not the only stars taking part in this year’s Harvest Days event. The Festival Ag Stage will play host to a variety of entertainment Saturday, starting with musician Leah Pauls at noon. Pauls will be followed by the Proulx School of Highland Dance at 1 p.m. and Sweet Sly the Magician at 1:30 p.m. The remainder of the entertainment afternoon will include Hanna Boulay at 2:30, False Front at 3 p.m. and Morinville rockers Edgore at 4 p.m.
Edgore bassist Gordon LeBel said the band, who has recently added a fourth member, will perform as a three piece with his wife Esther and cousin David providing guitar to his bass. The local metal band performed a well-attended CD launch party earlier this year in Morinville but will trade their own hard electric sounds for a softer acoustic set at the Bon Accord show.
Saturday evening will be for local youth. A teen dance will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for a nominal fee at the Bon Accord Town Library and Videos and More. The dance will end in time for the fireworks show at 10 p.m.
Sunday will start with a pancake breakfast and end with the conclusion of the ball tournament.
Bon Accord Harvest Days takes place Aug. 9 to 11. Gate admission for Saturday is $5 per person. All activities inside the gates other than food and bazaar purchases are free.
Above: Avery Scrimshaw celebrates her eighth birthday on one of the midway rides during last year’s Harvest Days. Although the festival has dispensed with a midway this year, there is still plenty for children to enjoy.