Eight years from celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Windsor Harvest Festival keeps on getting bigger and better.
The 92nd annual Windsor Harvest Festival will feature more than 235 arts and crafts, commercial and food vendors at Windsor Main Park and 100-plus parade entries.
The three-day event kicks off Saturday and concludes with the Labor Day parade Sept. 2.
Last year, Windsor’s biggest event of the year had 175 vendors at Main Park, up from 120 in 2011. There are more than 100 vendors this year than in 2011.
“We think the economy is coming back, and what really helped us was there weren’t many arts events around the area,” Harvest Festival committee chairman Casey Johnson said. “People wanted a reasonable place to sell their goods, and we seem to provide that.”
Johnson said vendors are coming from all over.
“We’ve got them as far as Florida. I think that is a first,” Johnson said. “One of our amusement rides this year is coming clear from California.”
Johnson said the Florida vendor will have a commercial booth that sells cookware. He said other vendors are coming from Wyoming, Kansas and all around Colorado.
“We’re looking at 120 arts and crafts, 100 commercial and about 15 food (vendors),” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a very packed house.”
Johnson said there is a vendor who takes wine bottles and molds them into bowls or glassware and a vendor who decorates with concrete.
The festival begins at 7 a.m. Saturday morning with a hot air balloon launch at Eastman Park, the mud volleyball tournament at Diamond Valley Sports Complex, the new Bulls on the Beach Kids rodeo (Saturday and Sunday) at Water Valley South and the Windsor town barbecue and street dance and a fireworks show at Boardwalk Park on Saturday night.
The vendor booths and amusement rides at Main Park run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. Johnson said a new ride for the kids this year is a 35-foot pool with bubbles where they can get in the bubbles and walk on the water.
The Labor Day parade starts at 9 a.m. with the 1.5 mile parade route going west on Walnut Street to 7th Street, then south on 7th Street to Eastman Park Drive. Thousands of people line the Windsor sidewalks to watch the parade. Johnson said not only will the Windsor High School marching band be performing, but the Windsor Charter Academy will also have a band in the parade. He said the parade will last about 90 minutes.
“Ninety-five percent of the parade entries are from Windsor,” Johnson said. “This year is the first year in a long time that we have so many right from our hometown. I think there is a lot more community involvement. Our sponsors have gone out of the roof this year. We’re at about 40 sponsors (up from 20 to 25 in 2012), and we think that people are wanting to get back into the local scene. They know a good local event and want to be a part of it.”
The Harvest Festival has a new logo with multi-colored wheat surrounding the name of the event.
“It signifies we still have the wheat for the harvest, but the colors show a variation of the festival, parade and the booths,” said Johnson, who heads an all-volunteer committee of 10 people who run the festival.
This year’s theme is “Harvesting a Community of Dreams” with the meaning that there are a lot of dreams in the community and Windsor is the place to start those dreams, Johnson said.
“People should expect to have a really good time and enjoy the family atmosphere. It’s a good weekend to relax before the fall and winter starts,” Johnson said. “I’m very excited with the amount of interest we had this year.”