Piedmont, Jacksonville to host weekend of autumn events
by Laura Gaddy
Oct 16, 2013 | 4834 views |  0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The arrival of fall means the arrival of festivals, which on Saturday will give Jacksonville and Piedmont their chance to shine in the autumn sun.

Piedmont will play host to the Old Fashioned Country Fair, where attendees will be able to shop at craft booths, view old cars, see vintage tractors, hear live music and play games in the heart of the city. Meanwhile in Jacksonville there will be four separate events, including a trail run, a yard-decorating contest, a community softball game and a fundraiser.

The country fair in Piedmont will run from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. It will include arm-wresting, a pie-eating contest and fair food including barbecue and fried Oreo cookies, said organizer Dan Freeman.

“If you’re hungry, this is where you need to be,” Freeman said. “It’s going to be a hoot.”

The first Jacksonville event, the Jacksonville Health Festival, will kick off with a 4-mile trail run at 7 a.m. on the mountain bike trails at Henry Farm Park. The festival continues until 11 a.m. and will include health screenings, exercise demonstrations and nature walks.

The Jacksonville Farmers Market will be part of the event by opening at Henry Farm, instead of at its usual location east of the Public Square.

As the health fair is ending at 11 a.m., a “Fun Day” will begin at the Eastwood School on Gardner Drive. That event will include face painting, bingo, musical chairs and a community softball game, but the Fun Day is about more than having a good time, said Sandra Sudduth, the chairwoman for a Eastwood School preservation organization.

“We’re having this to make people aware of the Eastwood School and the history behind it,” said Sudduth, who’s a city councilwoman. “We want it to continue to be a part of the city.”

The school was Jacksonville’s school for black children during the segregation era. After that it became a daycare center, which closed in 2011 to leave the old building vacant ever since.

Sudduth said she hopes the Saturday event will get people talking about the property and how it might be used in the future.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Jacksonville will also host one of its two annual fundraising events, Octoberfest. It will start at 6 p.m. and is a take on the German fall festival, which lasts two weeks and is synonymous with beer drinking.

In keeping with the original “Oktoberfest” — held in Munich in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding — the St. Charles event will center on German culture, including a traditional German meal and beer, said Sue Large, administrative assistant to the church’s priest.

Held to raise money to pay for the church’s building and maintenance projects, the event also will include games, a silent auction and a raffle. Tickets for Octoberfest are still available and cost between $5 and $15. Couple’s tickets are $25, Large said.

The Jacksonville Profile Mill Village Neighborhood Association will also host fall events from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Called the Fall-tastic Clean up, Yard Contest and Block Party, the event will give participants the chance to work and play in the neighborhood, according to organizers.

From 8 a.m. to noon the association will work with volunteers from area civic organizations and the local fire department to help spruce up homes and lots in the historic community, said organizer Joseph Munster. Later, he said, people from the Jacksonville State University art department will walk through the neighborhood to judge a yard-decorating contest.

Munster said the lawns will be decorated with Halloween or fall themes and that each participant will incorporate a life-size scarecrow into their design. Beginning at 6 p.m., the association will host a block party, which will end at 10 p.m.

“It’s a good way to get out and just meet your neighbors,” Munster said. “We want to do at least one event a quarter to get together as a neighborhood.”

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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