Fall Fest is coming
This year’s Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Fall Fest is a month away, but Chamber leaders are asking local businesses, chili cooks and art fans to start putting some thought into this year’s event — especially the “Shut The Back Door” promotion.
The 15th-annual event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8 on Holton’s Town Square, will include many of the Fall Fest’s regular events, including the 23rd-annual Chili Cook-Off, vendors, music and a scarecrow contest, as well as a quilt show hosted by the Calico Garden Quilt Guild.
But this year’s Fall Fest will also include the new “Shut The Back Door” feature that is aimed at increasing foot traffic and visibility of overlooked spaces in downtown areas by creating an unexpected art destination — alleyways and business back doors.
Business owners and others are asked to create door murals that will be a featured art exhibit, turning back entrance doors into “a discovery-driven gallery,” it was reported. Building owners will be in charge of creation, application/installment, removal and financing of the door project.
Any business, whether on or off the Square, is invited to decorate any door and display it in a fun way, although most visibility will be around the Square that day. Business owners using “temporary doors” are encouraged to bring it to Fall Fest, display an enlarged photo or get creative with how to attract people to their business.
A map of all doors will be provided at Fall Fest, and doors will be judged by “people’s choice” during Fall Fest, it was reported. Business owners are asked to install their “back door” murals by Monday, Oct. 3.
Fall Fest will also feature the annual Chili Cook-Off, in which area cooks are encouraged to put their “bowls of red” up against others’ recipes and decorate their chili booths in a creative way that will have chili fans coming back for more. Awards will be given for “People’s Choice,” “Judges’ Choice” and “Most Creative Site” during the contest.
Chili fans can purchase a bag of sampler cups, and cooks will dish out bowls of homemade chili. Each sampler cup bag will include a ticket to be used for voting in the “People’s Choice” contest.
For those wishing to compete in the cook-off, cooks are asked to provide four or five gallons of chili, a large cooker to keep their chili warm, tables, extension cords, serving utensils, condiments and, if they so desire, costuming and decorations. Chamber officials will provide bowls, spoons and napkins, it was reported.
Registration for the event will begin by 10 a.m. that day, and entries must be received for judging in the Jackson County Courthouse by 10:45 a.m. “People’s Choice” voting will end at 1 p.m., and voting containers must be turned in by 1:05 p.m. for tallying of votes, with winners to be announced at 1:30 p.m.
There is a $6.50 registration fee per booth, and spaces are first-come, first-served, it was reported. Contestants are required to provide their own table, extension cord for hook-up, a large cooker to keep their chili warm, a ladle for serving and — most importantly — at least four or five gallons of chili for serving.
Chili booths need to be set up by 10:30 a.m. that day, and program directors will provide contestants with bowls, spoons and napkins for serving judges and the public.
If decorating a scarecrow is more your thing, you’re invited to participate in the Fall Fest scarecrow contest by placing a scarecrow in the Jackson County Courthouse lawn. Participants are asked to have their scarecrows ready for placement on the northeast side of the Courthouse lawn by 9 a.m. that day. There is a $5 entry fee per scarecrow.
Fall Fest will also feature various vendors who specialize in arts, crafts, clothing, jewelry, food and other items, and vendors are encouraged to enter early, as space around the Square may be limited. Vendors will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day, and vendors are asked to set up between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. that day, it was reported.
The first Fall Fest was held in 2008, in conjunction with the 10th-annual Chili Cook-Off, it was reported. That year also was the last year for another long-running event on the Square, the 28th French Market, which was folded into Fall Fest the next year.
More information on this year’s Fall Fest will be published in an upcoming edition of The Holton Recorder. For more information on registration, please contact the Chamber office at (785) 364-3963 or visit www.exploreholton.com