Lively Harvest Festival Brings Out The Best In Old Wethersfield

Courant Community

"Let's get together and feel all right," crooned Bill Clark and Mike Moriarty, who together form the band Blackberry Jam.

Performing in the gazebo at the Comstock, Ferre & Co. Harvest Festival in Old Wethersfield, their song mirrored the spirit of the crowd.

The many booths set up on the heirloom market and seed company's grounds offered visitors a variety of experiences, such as caricature drawings, henna hand designs, and children's activities.

Brian Kleinman, of Riverside Reptiles, gave kids the opportunity to touch a giant frog, a red-footed turtle from South America, and other creatures that he brought to the festival in coolers. Youngsters could also choose to paint a birdhouse or a pumpkin.

One of Old Wethersfield's favorite part time residents was seen strolling alongside Main Street, presumably enjoying the festival. Kevin, the turkey, has quite a following in town. People take pictures of him and worry him across the road, which he crosses in his own sweet time. Kevin has his own Facebook page, and many publicists. Currently, he is running for mayor.

"Having Kevin down here slows down traffic, making it safer, and it gets people to look at the shops and restaurants as well," said Megan Kirk, owner of the Old Wethersfield Country Store.

Among other Kevin-related items, she sells "Kevin for Mayor" lawn signs and a Kevin calendar, created by a local photographer. The mayoral race, she says, was local teacher Becky Weaver's idea, and the proceeds from the signs will be donated to the Wethersfield Food Bank.

Oct. 7 was also the kick-off for the town's 22nd annual Scarecrows on Main event. On the side porch of the Hurlbut-Dunham House, members of the Village Garden Club were putting the finishing touches on "Florinata." Having participated in the event since its beginning, member Maureen Clemens said they usually do a witch scarecrow and name it for a flower, but this year's entry is a garden witch who bears the Spanish name for flower.

"Old Wethersfield Main Street is a little gem, and it really comes alive during this festival," Clemens said.

The garden club also maintains the garden of the historic house, as a community service project. One of five garden clubs in the town, it has only 12 active members and some associates, but she refers to it as "a small group that is big in spirit."

Spirits are everywhere up and down Main Street, from the scary "El Chupocabra" in front of the Grange Hall, to the ghastly greeter on the porch, and the ghostly couple on the lawn of the Larissa Lake & Co. Salon and Spa. A clown keeps its eye on sidewalk diners at the Old Town Restaurant, and a more sinister spirit bids one welcome to Lucky Loo's restaurant up the street.

"Everybody comes together on this, and you love seeing what people come up with," said Clemens.

Families, business and school groups, and organizations participate in the display that will continue to haunt the town until Nov. 5.

Old Wethersfield is home to the state's largest historic district, which includes original Colonial buildings where George Washington was known to have eaten, slept, and planned battle strategy. The Wethersfield Museum and the Joseph Webb, Silas Deane, and Isaac Stevens homes on Main Street were open for tours during the festival.

The festival ended with a blend of the old and the new, as a private wedding assembled in the 19th-century Webb House Barn. The popular wedding venue is also managed by the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, one of the story keepers of Wethersfield's rich and unique past.

Over in Cove Park, the Old Wethersfield Fall Craft Fair was in full swing, until 4 p.m. Hundreds of crafters offered a variety of seasonal decorations, clothing, furniture and other handmade items, food and refreshments, face painting, and more. The event also included entertainment and a farmers market.

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