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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The 2021 Pittsfield Fall Festival is set to take place around the courthouse square – starting Thursday, Sept. 2, running to Saturday, Sept. 4.
According to Fall Festival Vendor Coordinator Jenna Maki, festival organizers are thrilled to be back in action after COVID-19 precautions cancelled last year’s festival. Maki indicated many favorite returning vendors and rides would be on hand, and the festival has added new vendors to the mix.
“We’re excited to be back again, bringing back returning vendors and events and bringing in some exciting new vendors,” Maki said. “I’m excited about the variety of vendors.”
Maki said that residents can expect vendors to be set up and open in time for lunch on Thursday, before the festival starts in earnest Thursday evening.
“The vendors will open back up at 6 p.m.,” Maki said. “The Lion’s Club’s rides will open at 6 p.m., too.”
The Fall Festival’s official opening ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Jr. Miss and Queen contests at 7:30 p.m.
Maki reported that attendees should expect a great pageant, with more participants than usual.
“I always enjoy the pageant,” Maki said. “It’s always a really good, well run pageant. There’s a larger number in the Jr. Miss this year compared to most.”
Vendors will open for the noon hour Friday and reopen at 6 p.m., along with Lion’s Club rides. The remaining pageant categories will also occur starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Saturday, the final day of the festival, starts, according to Maki, with parade registrations in front of the Pittsfield High School auditorium from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and is immediately followed by drum major and marching band award announcements.
According to Fall Festival Chairman David Forshey, two marshals will be honored at the parade this year, because of last year’s cancellation.
“Parker and Beth Zumwalt were last year’s marshal, so we want to have them back this year to ride in the parade and have some people talk about them,” Forshey said. “We also have another group of people we’ll honor this year. We’ll have two parade marshals.”
Saturday’s talent show sign-up starts at 3:30 p.m., and the contest starts at 4:30 p.m. Rides begin at 6 p.m. Friday, and vendors will be set up all day, starting at 9 a.m.
The Fall Festival will culminate Saturday night with a performance by local band Jukebox Reloaded, which features Pikeland music instructors Justin and Chardy Bangert. The show is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m.
Forshey said that festival organizers, as always, are keeping an eye on the weather, and, this year, they are monitoring the COVID-19 situation, as well. But, Forshey said, unless something changes drastically, the festival will go on as planned.
“We hope we have great weather,” Forshey said. “And we hope this Coronavirus thing doesn’t get too out of whack. Right now, we’re planning full-steam ahead.”
Maki indicated that the outdoor nature of the festival added some element of safety amid pandemic concerns
“I’m excited that we can have it safely outdoors,” Maki said.
Forshey encourages residents to attend the festival and enjoy all it has to offer – and to do so while taking into account public health considerations.
“Just come out and have a good time, and be safe,” Forshey said. “We’ll roll the dice and see what happens.”