Shake your booty
— with the Booty Vortex & Bare Hill Bands
By Mary E. Arata
HARVARD — An estiamted 6,000 fair-goers streamed through the gates at Hazel Farm in Harvard last September for the annual Harvard Fall Festival, hosted by the Harvard Lions Club.
This year, there’s even more packed into the Sept. 15-16 weekend to draw out the crowds once again.
At the midway point Saturday night, the skies will be lit by fireworks as two local bands take the main stage. This year, each musical group will accentuate its own favorite aspects of the 1960s and 70s music scene when folk artists Bare Hill Band opens for the funkadelic Boston band Booty Vortex.
Crafts, chow, challenges and championship BBQ
If you like crafts, there’s a bevy of hand-made goods to choose from. There are also live Alpacas and woolen goods made from their coats. Nearby, a blacksmith brings his bellows and forges home wares and gifts.
Jewelry, leather goods, hand-knit vests and hats will be sold. Wood carvings, unique needle arts, glass and pottery good, soaps and bath products, fresh and dried flower arrangements and pet products are among the offerings under a sea of tents set up in the upper field.
Downhill, a food festival is afoot. The Lions cook up their burgers, hot dogs, and famous regular and sweet potato fries. BBQ ribs, pulled pork and brisket meals with all the sides will be served up aside lobster rolls, and chicken Caesar wraps.
For those with a sweet tooth, Carlson Orchards’ fresh apple crisp will be served with whipped cream. Fried dough, slush and ice cream sundries (cones, sundaes, banana splits and shakes) will round out the dessert offerings.
For the cutting edge in BBQ technology, the fair will once again host the state championship BBQ cook-off. More than 50 teams will compete. Pick up tips, or for a small fee, sample and judge the entries to participate in the “People’s Choice” BBQ award both Saturday and Sunday at noon. BBQ will be sold throughout the festival at the Lions Club food tent.
Burn off what you ate with log jousting, axe- and knife-throwing, horseshoes and an enhanced castle siege contest. The castle siege returns in which contestants launch three pound bags of lime from a 16-foot catapult, aiming at a castle and its “occupants.”
Of course, there’s a sea of kids activities, including inflatables on which to slide, bounce and climb. There are games and obstacle courses. Daylong “touch a truck” returns, providing front-seat access to a variety of rigs, including army vehicles, police cruiser, ambulance, fire trucks, dump truck and more. Vendors will be on hand for both face-painting and henna tattoos for a fee.
There will be day-long live music on Saturday, including the band Revolutionary Road (12:30 to 2 p.m.) and Blue Box Set (2:30 to 4 p.m.).
The fairgrounds are cleared of revelers at 4 p.m. to set up for the evening’s festivities and some heavy-duty musical acts lined up for this year’s festival.
Booty-shaking Saturday night
It will be a 1960s and 1970s flashback Saturday night.
The evening of live local music begins with the folk-rock stylings of the Bare Hill Band from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Through its hallmark two-, three- and four-part harmonizing, the Bare Hill Band channels psychedelic, early new wave and underground club rock. The band has made popular appearances at the Harvard Fall Festival in prior years.
But what? You’ve never heard of Booty Vortex?
Not a discovery from Mars, Booty Vortex is a 12-piece funk extravaganza that promises to channel your inner 70s child with covers of your favorite soul, disco and funk tunes. Platform shoes and polyester leisure suits are optional.
And, as is customary, the concert will be punctuated by spectacular fireworks. The pyrotechnic display will take place at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night during the intermission for the Booty Vortex show.
A massive bon fire will again warm the crowd. Families can bring their own blankets and chairs and lounge on the hillside to take in the show. Barbequed dinners will be sold throughout the concert hours. Booty Vortex plays from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
The gates open on Saturday night at 5 p.m. Admission is $15 per adult and $10 per student. Or purchase your evening tickets before 3 p.m. on Saturday and the $5 per person daytime admission is free. Parking at all times is free.
Wheels and deals Sunday
On Sunday morning, Sept. 16, the sun rises and the fun starts again for day two of the craft fair, live demonstrations, kids attractions, BBQ cook-off, and festival food offerings. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is again $5 per person.
Live music includes the Black Tea Project (10:30 a.m. to noon), Smokin’ Pigeons (12:15 to 1:45 p.m.) and Stone Throw (2 to 4 p.m.).
On Sunday only, there will be an expanded Classic Car Show with an opportunity to vote on your favorite automobile.
Proceeds to charity, local community
The Harvard Lions Club runs the event. The volunteer effort helps raise money for the group’s charitable giving. All net proceeds benefit the local community and group causes.
The primary mission of Lions Club International is to support research for the blind and visually impaired. The Harvard Lions Club has also provided sight screening equipment for Harvard schools, sponsored visits by the Lion’s “Sight Mobile” for student sight and hearing screenings, has financed the purchase of special education equipment for the schools, assisted local elders, supported the Harvard firefighters and ambulance squad, the Loaves & Fishes pantry on Devens, student and youth groups, and annually awards community service scholarships to graduating Bromfield seniors.
As the Lions Club says — see you at the Harvard Fall festival on Saturday, Sept. 15 and Sunday, Sept. 16, at 150 Ayer Road in Harvard (Hazel Farm) just off Route 2, exit 38A (Route 110/111). In addition to filling out the Lions Club ranks, the Hazel family donates the use of the farm for the annual community event. More details at www.harvardfallfestival.com.