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What's happening this weekend: 'Oktoberfest,' Harvest Festival

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN

achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

A series of family-friendly activities will be held around Wabash County this weekend to mark the start of fall.

Starting this evening, downtown Wabash will be celebrating Oktoberfest with the return of First Friday.

The monthly event will highlight nonprofit organizations like the Special Olympics of Wabash County along with two new businesses set to open this weekend: Nichole A. Photography and Anthony Leigh, a men’s fashion outlet, according to Tyler Karst, project manager for Wabash Marketplace Inc., which organizes First Fridays.

Also new this month is a barbeque buffet in the Charley Creek Inn courtyard, weather permitting. Karst said food trucks from Art’s Que, Emmett’s Paddy Wagon and Affine will be back tonight as well.

Another fitness competition will be held as part of First Friday, this time on Miami Street. Wabash CrossFit will host the competition from 6-7 p.m., featuring four-person teams of two men and two women.

Karst said the cabins at Paradise Spring Historical Park will be open for tours tonight. The park will also host several spinning and knitting demonstrations tonight, and popcorn and cider will be for sale, Karst said.

Also this evening is the Wabash Carnegie Public Library’s Zombie Walk. The walk, which starts at 6 p.m., is the library’s kick-off event for a month of “Frankenstein”-inspired programming. The classic novel turns 200 this year.

North Manchester’s Harvest Festival returns on Saturday. Events will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Market Street Square. Hot apple dumplings and fall decor will be for sale throughout the day. But there will be plenty of family-friendly activities too, like the petting farm or cow milking contest.

The annual Chairs of Hope auction will be back too, starting at 11:30 on the Market Street Stage. The auction will feature an assortment of hand-painted chairs to benefit the Wabash County Cancer Society. Should it be raining Saturday, the auction will be moved to The Firehouse.

A new event will be held in LaFontaine this weekend. Grant Creek Farm is hosting a pumpkin festival this Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $2 per carload, but owner Kristen Lovell said an obstacle course, scavenger hunt, pumpkin bowling and a petting zoo will all be free. Hayrides will also be offered for $1 per person. Visitors may also purchase pumpkins from the farm or taste local food truck offerings from Art’s Que, which will be on site throughout the weekend, Lovell said.

For chili lovers, there will be two cook-offs taking place Saturday. The American Legion Post 248 in Lagro will be hosting its 10th annual chili cook-off to benefit the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation and Military with PTSD. Cooking will begin at 8 a.m. with a tasting from noon to 4 p.m. Teams wishing to enter the cook-off will need to register beforehand. Fee is $20. Tasting will be $5 and includes five tickets to vote for the best chili. The Wabash Elks Lodge will also be featuring a free crockpot cook-off from noon to 5 p.m., during which visitors can play games of cornhole or watch football.

For those more interested in crafting, Wellbrooke of Wabash will be hosting its annual Craft Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival showcases homemade products like woodworking, bath and body products and food.

Finishing out Saturday will be Brandt’s Harley Davidson’s Fall Festival, which will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival includes complimentary lunch and games.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported there will be free hayrides at Grant Creek Farms this weekend. The hayrides will be offered for $1 per person.