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Bristol Harvest Festival: food, fun and friends

BRISTOL — Leaves are ablaze with fiery colors and a crispness floats in the air so autumn must truly be here. Folks in Bristol will mark the change in season this Saturday with the 16th annual Harvest Festival, when families, neighbors and visitors gather on the town green for food, art and craft vendors, music and fun activities for the kids.
The event on the green will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with many ways to enjoy the day — and there will be a couple other activities off the green, too.
The first activity actually gets under way Friday evening with a Harvest Fest Potluck on the green from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Bring food to share and your own plate and utensils (Patty Heather-Lea said she will have extras, if you forget.) Water and cider will be provided, as well as tent and chairs. If it is too windy and rainy, dinner can move into Holley Hall.
Then on Saturday morning there will be a 5-km race for everyone and a half-mile “tot trot” for the kids. The race, which begins and ends at the Mount Abraham Union High School, is a fundraiser for the Starksboro Cooperative Preschool; the charge is $20 for the 5K and $5 for the Tot Trot. The kiddie race on the Eagle track begins at 9 a.m. and the 5 K begins at 9:15 a.m.
You can get a head start on the day with a 5-km road race in the morning and then feel free to sit by the gazebo and enjoy live music, with a new band every hour.
One way to take part in the festival is by entering one of the many food and craft contests. An annual favorite is the Pie Eating Contest — the pie is supplied, so all you need is an appetite. Also featured is the Biggest Zucchini Contest, where local gardeners bring the monsters of their garden that got away from them; and a Chicken Wing Contest, judged by area connoisseurs (members of the public).
And, get your rolling pins reader, there is the Best Ever Apple Pie contest, won last year by Barb Saunders.
Anyone can take part in this year’s bake-off. Bring your apple pie to the Pie Table by 10 a.m. on Saturday.
The judging will take place by a panel of pie lovers beginning at 10:30 a.m.
An expert panel of three “celebrity” judges has been selected to determine the winner. The judges this year will be:
•  Kerrin Jeromin, chief meteorologist at FOX44/ABC22-TV.
•  Addison County Sheriff Don Keeler, and Addison County fixture.
•  Mike Donoghue, senior staff writer for the Burlington Free Press, executive director of the Vermont Press Association and a ham in his own right.
Judging is based on three aspects:
1)  Appearance (before we cut into pies, the judges rate them all on aesthetics).
2)  Crust (judges are instructed to taste the crust and rate on flavor, flakiness and melt-in-your-mouth-deliciousness).
3)  Innards (judges taste the filling alone and rate it on flavor, consistency and other intangible factors).
The champion will be named around noon. The winner gets bragging rights.
Pie slices will be sold proceeds to benefit the Bristol Recreation Department.
Call Bristol Recreation at 453-5885 for details.
Also on Saturday, Gov. Peter Shumlin has scheduled an 11:30 a.m. appearance at the Bristol Harvest Fest. Plus the Bristol Historical Society Museum will hold an open house at Howden Hall at 19 West St., across from the St. Ambrose Catholic Church, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Another way to take part is in the Addison County’s Humane Society’s family bike ride and scavenger hunt. Check it out at the Homeward Bound table on the green.
Come for part of the day, stay for the food, fun and fellowship, and go home having kicked off the season with a bang.
CHICKEN WING CONTEST
There’s nothing like a cold drink and a plateful of barbecued chicken wings.
This year, as part of the annual Bristol Harvest Festival visitors will get a chance to sample some amazing cooking.
On Saturday, each registered team will have their wings at their designated spot and be ready to serve them no later than 2:15 p.m.
The first 50 people who buy a special $10 wristband at the Bristol Recreation Department booth can sample the wings. For $10, you will receive a wristband and two voting tickets. The wristband will allow you to taste just one of each team’s wings. Then you can vote for your favorite wings by dropping the tickets into ballot boxes located next to each team’s space.
You must have a wristband to sample the chicken wings. If you are not wearing your wristband, you will not be served.
Wings will be served by the teams between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. or until they run out.
Teams must pre register by Sept. 25 by calling the Recreation office at 453-5885.
BIKING IN BRISTOL
Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, is hosting a family bike ride and scavenger hunt and games in conjunction with an informational table at the Bristol Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 27.
This easy 2.3-mile self-guided ride for children (maps available at the Homeward Bound table) and their parents will wind through the village to the Bristol Elementary School where Homeward Bound will be hosting a variety of games and a scavenger hunt for the kids. The ride will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Afterward, Homeward Bound will be giving out prizes donated by Bristol merchants to children who return with tokens from having completed the scavenger hunt and bike ride.
There will be a $2 entrance fee per family (parents must ride with kids) and all proceeds will go to the animals.
Since 1975, Homeward Bound has provided temporary shelter for more than 20,000 lost, abandoned, abused or surrendered animals. As the only animal shelter in the county, its programs and services meet a wide array of critical animal welfare needs and it provides them without any county, state or federal funding. Programs and services include a Trap Neuter and Release Program, Lost and Found Services, and Cruelty Response Program. Visit the shelter on Boardman Street in Middlebury noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday or visit online at www.homewardboundanimals.org.
TOWN SELF-PORTRAIT
The Bristol Recreation Department invites community members to photograph the town, it’s people, places and events for two days in the 48-Hour Self Portrait of Bristol.
The session starts at midnight, Friday, Sept. 26, and goes through Saturday, Sept. 27. Photographs can be submitted online at bristolrec.org and should be limited to 12 submissions per person. All images must be submitted after 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 26 and before 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 27.
A digital slide show will be presented to the community at a later date determined by the Bristol Rec Department. Bristol Rec staff will select photos.
Anyone can participate. All photos must be family-friendly.

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