The sun was bright and the crowds came to Harvard's Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16. Sponsored by the Harvard Lions Club on land owned by the Hazel Family on 150 Ayer Road, the fair drew hundreds each day. Admission was $5 for all and the spectacular fireworks and concert cost $15 per person with discounts for the younger set. The Harvard Lion's Club is a nonprofit devoted to serving those in need.

With the tallies not yet in for this year, last year the fair raised $40,000. Everything raised is donated to charitable and nonprofit causes, including Loaves & Fishes food pantry, assistance dogs for combat veterans, the disabled and children in need, the Clara Barton Center for children with Type 1 diabetes, audio journals for the visually impaired, research on the prevention of blindness and visual impairment, and vision and hearing aids for the needy.

Throughout the weekend there was live music on center stage and musical groups included Revolutionary Road, Tim Smith, Blue Sox Set, Black Tea Project, Stone Throw and Smokin' Pigeons. Through it all the peaceful alpacas of Springbrook Farm in Stow stood quietly blinking while their big expressive eyes seem to be saying, "What's this all about?"

Kids were in heaven as they jumped and played in huge inflatable castles and even a giant kitty. Scores of youngsters enjoyed the hoola hoops, face painting and trying to knock each other off a log as they pummeled each other with pillowcases filled with foam.

In the medieval village there were horseshoe games and a 16-foot high catapult that launched bags of lime through the air toward castle walls erected about 40 feet away.


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On Sunday, the vintage car show attracted fans, and each one of the autos was detailed and shining. Winner of the first-place trophy was a 1937 Packard owned by Rick MacLarlen. Second place went to Clinton's Ernie Chiasson, proud papa of a 1965 Thunderbird. "I paid $3,500 for this car and its restoration, which I did myself, cost about $6,000. It's worth about $23,000 today. Not a bad investment or use of my time," he said enthusiastically.

The crafts center was packed all weekend and vendors included fragrant soy candles from the Moose Creek Candle Company in Phillipston, Mike Sherman's lovingly made pickles, jams and relishes from Everything Jalapeno in Milford, exquisitely carved wood objects from Mark Harrity O'Malley in Leominster, and pet and dog-grooming services by Brenda Baer in Clinton, whose adorable pooch, Mitchell, spent much of his day being groomed in front of the crowds and petted by everyone.

Contact the Harvard Lions Club for inclusion in next year's event, or visit harvardlions.org.