Enjoying the festive days of fall

By Dennis Minich

Saturday morning, I started my drive to Drexel for the annual Pumpkin Festival. My early disposition was dampened by the abundance of fog. Driving the highway between Harrisonville and Freeman I was worried about needing to pass any cars because looking through my windshield was similar to attempting to gaze through a cup of burnt French onion soup. But a funny thing happened, about the time I hit the Freeman city limits, the fog lifted, the clouds cleared and the sun came out for a visit. I thought it was going to be a perfect day. But then I proceeded on and about three miles past Freeman, the fog was again as thick as a brick and I slowed my speed the remainder of the way into Bobcat country. God apparently smiles on Freeman.

A few weeks ago, I lamented the fall season with all of the festivals and activities that come with the change in the seasons. Sure enough, week one of the city parties was in God’s paradise, Freeman, and it was hot.

But the weeks have passed and now the warmth of summer has surrendered to the tepid temps of fall. While refreshing, it is also unsettling. As I drove Saturday morning, I noticed how some of the trees had started to change colors. While mostly green, the yellow and red hues are starting to creep in. While the change provides a glorious look on the world, it also means those colors will quickly fade and winter’s grip will be close behind.

As I noted, I spent Saturday in Drexel and it was a terrific day. The fog lifted just before things kicked off and lots of folks were out and about and what I was most astounded by was how many pumpkins there were, which I guess I should have expected since it is a pumpkin festival. I don’t think about things like growing pumpkins very often, but somebody certainly has to put a lot of work into it. There were pumpkins everywhere.

There were decorated pumpkins, cooked pumpkins, pumpkins being used as bowling balls, pumpkins being used a croquet balls, pumpkins being used on a tic-tac-toe board, pumpkins for sale and pumpkins simply looking like pumpkins.

One of my favorite duties each year is I do get to judge the pumpkin pie contest. Pumpkin pies are one of life’s greatest pleasures and being allowed to sample a variety of baked goods is a wonderful burden to bear. Unfortunately, this year only one pie was entered. However, there was good news. It was a wonderful pumpkin pie. It had a sweet gooey crust and a taste that was simply heavenly. Since no one likes to be disappointed, I guess it was good there were no other entries because this pie would have won regardless of the number of entries. A big crowd and lots of friendly folks made for a great day.

Friday night I got to spend some time at the Log Cabin Festival in Harrisonville. It was obvious people were happy to be out and about. There were many folks wandering the square and food vendors were obviously doing big business.

There’s nothing like having a citywide party with things like barbecue, fried tenderloins, funnel cakes, fried Oreos and cotton candy. That’s fine eating. The carnival was jam packed. There were lots of smiles. It was great to see people feeling good and being happy.

Kudos to the Chamber of Commerce for the organization and execution. I understand Saturday’s crowds were even better and except for a brief shower, the weather cooperated. I did miss the parade and I hear it was a good one.

Also, a quick tip of the cap to The Love the Square organization for the festive banners adorning the streetlights on the square. It was a project quietly done and is a great touch to the square area.

The final two festivals are next week in Adrian and Butler. I am looking forward to one last round of unhealthy fried food,
conversations with friends and a chance to enjoy the fall weather.

Then it will be time to start looking towards Halloween, which of course, is a great time for even more things made of pumpkin.