By Amanda Ensinger
In celebration of its bicentennial, a local township is hosting a unique festival celebrating all things fall. Over a year in the making, the festival will bring the entire community together to celebrate a once in a lifetime anniversary.
Called the Prairie Harvest Festival, the event will kickoff with the Prairie Migration 5K at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Prairie Township Fire Department Station 241, 123 Inah Ave.
The 5K cost $30 to participate and includes a t-shirt, medal, swag bag and bib. There also will be a kids 100-yard dash that cost $15 to participate in.
Proceeds from the 5K will go toward the future Prairie harvest festivals, as well as the non-profit Pennies for Monarchs. This group supports the conservation efforts for the monarch butterfly and prairie lands across the United States.
“After the 5K, the festival will be kicked off at 10 a.m.,” said David Donofrio, member of the board of directors for the Prairie Harvest Festival. “This is the first year we are having this event and the inspiration came from the bicentennial the township is celebrating this year. This is our last real opportunity to celebrate this significant event.”
The vision for the festival started over a year ago by Prairie Township trustee Cathy Schmelzer, according to Donofrio.
“Cathy felt like we needed to do a special event that was unique to our township,” Donofrio said. “We started discussing it about a year ago and then after the first of the year, we got started on planning.”
The board who is organizing the event is made up of local leaders, residents, school leaders and community stakeholders.
Among the activities that will take place at the event include live entertainment, a beer garden, carnival games and a variety of contests. Some of the contests include kickball and cornhole tournaments, pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving, a pie bakeoff, a chili cookoff and a photography contest.
There also will be a Prairie’s Got Talent contest that will emulate “America’s Got Talent.” Prizes for the 5K and talent contest will include ribbons, trophies and other prizes.
“The third annual Prairie Township Fire Department Food Truck and Fire Prevention Festival also will be taking place at the same time in celebration of October being Fire Prevention Month,” Donofrio said. “We will have food trucks on hand, visitors can take a tour of the fire department and get an up-close look at the equipment the fire department uses.”
The festival will celebrate local crafts in the community and will have more than 30 different vendors selling homemade products.
“This will be a fantastic opportunity to support local community members and the homemade crafts they will create,” Donofrio said.
According to Donofrio, 50 percent of the proceeds from the event will go back into the community toward local schools, the fire department, non-profits in the community, the community center and the township.
For more information on the Prairie Harvest Festival, visit www.prairieharvest.org.