LEICESTER, Mass. — The town will continue a 13-year tradition Sept. 15 when the Leicester Harvest Fair returns to the common for its annual event that offers an opportunity for residents to celebrate their history and showcase the assortment of hidden talents in the community.
"From the beginning, we always did this to bring the town together," said harvest fair committee chair Kurt Parliment.
Parliment, who works at Sturbridge Village, explained that another goal was to highlight activities that people might have forgotten about. At the fair, artisans will demonstrate traditional processes like wool-dying, coopering and blacksmithing for residents to see firsthand.
From spectacular scarecrows and humongous pumpkins to stunning photographs and flower arrangements, every year the harvest fair also allows residents to show off their skill and creativity in the fair's many exhibits and contests. A silent auction features all of the items submitted to the various exhibits, so residents can also take part of the Harvest Fair home with them.
Additionally, for the first time at the fair, the Leicester's Fire Department's three companies will go head-to-head in a firemen's muster and test their mettle through a series of traditional firefighting events.
"It's three companies from town, so it's a friendly rivalry, and we'll have townspeople coming out to root for their company," said Parliment. "It should be a lot of fun."
Once again, Country Bank will provide hay rides and Spencer Bank will offer train rides.
The Scarecrow Contest sponsored by Hope House will also return this year. Scarecrows must be at the common before the start of the fair on Saturday to be included in the contest.
Throughout the celebration, Parliment hopes that people experience a sense of community and feel as though they are part of something.
"It's a fun day, and they're all together enjoying it," he said. "People get to meet each other, and re-make acquaintances that might have been lost over the years. Bringing the town together is a big part of it."
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sep. 15 on Leicester Town Common, rain or shine.