HARVARD -- This year's Harvard Fall Festival hosted by the Harvard Lions Club went off without a hitch last weekend as visitors enjoyed a weekend of fun in the sun.
From medieval games, like log-jousting, to BBQ contests, to hot-air balloon rides, Harvard Lions said this year may have been the busiest yet. The parking lot nearly hit capacity with about 100 cars taking part in the car show.
Harvard Lions Club President Bob Kinnee said the club works tirelessly to make sure that the Fall Festival is better each year as it is their biggest fundraiser.
"The Harvard Fall Festival isn't only a success because of the funds we raise for our charities and families in need, but people are leaving the festival very pleased," Kinnee said. "We do this to give back to the community as a way to say 'Thanks.'"
All proceeds from the Harvard Fall Festival go to charities that the Lions Club works with such as Loaves and Fishes, Massachusetts Eye Research and Joslin Diabetes Camp for Boys.
With the festival going strong for over 20 years, the Lions work to make sure there is always something new. This year hot-air balloon rides were available as well as a train ride and remote-control car racing.
"This is just a great opportunity to have fun," Kinnee said. "Although it is work to organize this event, it is fun for us (Harvard Lions) and it gives us a chance to bond with each other."
What was once a craft fair has become a community showcase and so much more. Musicians performed their art and a barbecue contest produced some of the best barbecue around.
Tables lined up along the fairgrounds were filled with crafts such as homemade soaps, jewelry and knitted goods. Businesses promoted their work and fundraised for goals of their own.
Harvard Academy of Dance hosted a table of baked goods in order to raise funds for their trip to a national competition in summer 2014. Owner of the studio and dance instructor, Kimberly Corbett, said this was their third year at the festival. The school also had intermediate, junior and senior competition teams performing some of Corbett's choreography at the festival.
"Kim tells a story with her choreography," senior dancer Patrice Mitchell, 15, said. "A lot of teachers just try to fill up eight counts worth of music, but Kim actually thinks about it."
The festival also gave space to charitable organizations. Bromfield School senior Sarah Rowse is a regional ambassador for the nonprofit organization, Child in Hand. According to their web site, Child in Hand strives to improve the lives of children affected by a catastrophic natural disaster through aid such as food, shelter, education, medical and psychosocial care.
Rowse decided to be become a Child in Hand volunteer with classmate, Leah Rosenfield, two years ago and has since nearly raised $2,000 for the cause.
"All of the money goes to orphanages in Haiti, which pays for food, water, arts, really anything," Rowse said.
When Rowse signed up for the cause, she was sent hundreds of beaded bracelets made by the children at Child in Hand recreation centers in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas in Haiti. She now sells the bracelets for five dollars apiece and says that once this batch runs out she will send for more.
"I've raised about $100 today," Rowse said . "I think (the Harvard Fall Festival) is great because yesterday I was on the lower field fundraising for field hockey, and today I'm up here doing this. So it's good that it's two days, and it gives everyone an opportunity to get together."