Harvest Fest presents county’s cornucopia

October 12, 2005

Oregon’s newly designated Official State Fruit, the pear (pyrus communis), will appear in all its juicy glory for a big celebration on its home turf in Hood River this year at the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest.

The 15,000 acres of orchards in the Hood River Valley produce nearly 50 percent of the nation’s winter pear crop, and the annual event features freshly harvested, locally grown pears in several varieties for tasting, along with many other Oregon products, fine arts and crafts, live music, and great family fun.

The annual event is scheduled for Oct. 14-16 at the Hood River Expo Center.

Many of Oregon’s best-known products will be on sale and on display at this year’s Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, taking place on its traditional third weekend in October. Festival-goers will find the Hood River area’s famous winter pears, apples, and wines, and also Oregon-grown cranberries, artichokes, brussel sprouts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, peppers, garlic, onions, gourds and pumpkins, specialty jams, jellies and preserves, and salmon – all of the elements for a grand Northwest harvest timetable.

Along with some of Oregon’s best agricultural growers, over 100 of the region’s finest artisans, quilters and crafts people will offer their wares, which range from fine art glass, metal and wood sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, photography, and handicrafts. There will be more than 130 vendor booths in all, plus live entertainment all weekend long.

Harvest Fest weekend brings with it a number of smaller scale harvest celebrations throughout the scenic Hood River Valley. The Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair will be at the Hood River County Fairgrounds in Odell, just south of the city of Hood River. Rasmussen Farms’ popular Pumpkin Funland will be in full swing, corn maze and pumpkin patch included.

Also, the Mt. Hood Railroad will offer scenic rail excursions to Parkdale, located in southern Hood River County, where riders can explore the Parkdale Fine Arts & Music Festival.

The Hood River Downtown Business Association celebrates the 23rd Annual Hood River Valley Harvest Festival with a downtown-wide sidewalk sale Oct. 14-16.

Harvest Festival-goers are invited to tour the Hood River Expo Center and then stroll downtown for fall bargains, according to association director Joanie Thomsen.

Most businesses will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Contact the HRDBA for further information at www.downtownhoodriver.com or 308-6738.

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Chamber of Commerce is looking for volunteers to take tickets at the door at Expo Center. Volunteers receive free admission after putting in a three-hour shift, Friday 1-8, Saturday 10-8 and Sunday 10-5. Volunteers are especially needed on Sunday. Call 386-2000 to schedule a shift.

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