Summer in Vermont unofficially ended on Monday, but there’s at least one more day planned to take in the sunshine and sparkle of Lake Champlain before winter: Georgia’s annual Fall Festival takes place at the municipal park on Georgia Shore Road on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The celebration, in its sixth year, is the single largest event put on by the Georgia Recreation Committee, Chairwoman Gail Wolff said. About 1,000 visitors came out to enjoy the activities, food and fireworks last year, and she expects a similar turnout next week, she said.
“How often do you hang out for hours, talk to people, enjoy the weather and watch your kids have a blast?” Wolff asked.
Since April, Recreation, Georgia Elementary and Middle School’s Community Relations Committee and other volunteers have worked to plan an evening of music, food and fun.
The Lions Club will again provide concessions, and local rockabilly band Carol Ann Jones & the Superchargers will entertain from the park pavilion from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wolff said.
The event will culminate at dusk with a fireworks show by Georgia local Jim Bayne. A stretch of Georgia Shore Road will be shut down from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. to ensure people’s safety during the display, which is set off from the adjacent field. Viewers can sit in the road and watch the show, Wolff said.
Since 2010, the Town Meeting Day budget earmarks $2,000 for Bayne’s company, Celebration Fireworks, and donations from local businesses covered the remaining pyrotechnic costs, Wolff said. Recreation chipped in another $2,000 for other Fall Fest costs, she added.
New this year are two activities brought by the Vermont Army National Guard. An inflatable soccer kick will offer younger kids a chance to practice scoring goals for small prizes. A 20-foot, vertical rock-climbing wall will also make an appearance.
“It doesn’t matter how big you are,” Master Sgt. Doug Cross said.
“You’re hooked to a cable,” Cross continued. “You can let go, but you won’t fall back.”
Wolff said the Fall Fest always has something to offer the whole family but said the rock wall will be a special draw for middle and high school-aged kids this year.
The National Guard donates its activities and time for events like the Georgia Fall Fest, meeting its dual goals of community awareness and recruiting, Cross said.
Because the Fall Fest is geared toward younger students, recruiting is the lower priority, he said, adding, “If you’re not out in the public at all, you can’t ever have the word get out that we might have something to offer.”
GEMS eighth grade teacher Robert Ward is planning some Fall Fest activities this year, too, like a kickball game. Along with School Board member Cheryl Letourneau, Ward is also organizing some physical challenges. These activities ask individuals or teams to solve a unique problem with some special guidelines.
Both events will be announced during the event, Wolff said.
The 2012 Fall Fest will also feature perennial favorites like an inflatable bouncy castle and horse-drawn wagon rides by Alfred Myers.
Local bank Peoples Trust Company will again offer piggy bank decorating, and high school student volunteers will do face-painting. Look for these activities under the big, white tent donated by McCracken Tent Rentals, Wolff said.
Georgia Fire and Rescue departments and other community groups will have display tables set up, and the firefighters will also have their trucks and equipment at the park for children to explore.
“Usually families are running here, there and everywhere, but [at the Fall Fest,] families just come and settle for the day,” Wolff said.
K-4 Principal Steve Emery, who sat on the school’s committee this year, always brought his family to Fall Fest before becoming principal. He said it’s important for kids to see a school administrator outside the classroom.
“When you’re at community events and [you see] the fun they’re having, the following week in the classroom you can say, ‘Did you have fun on Saturday?’ Relationship-building goes beyond the classroom,” he said.
While the festival is for the Georgia community – and also made possible by the taxpayers who support the town’s budget – it is open to all, Wolff said. After all, the event wouldn’t happen without the support of many.
Wolff said she’s not looking forward to any particular activity, just “seeing the whole committee’s hard work pay off,” she said.
Emery agreed. “Seeing [my students’] smiles, seeing them with their families; that’s the part I like.”
The 2012 Fall Festival goes down at the Georgia recreation park and beach on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 3 p.m. until the fireworks end. Parking is available at the park, but keep in mind Georgia Shore Road will be closed to the traveling public at 7:45 p.m.
The afternoon event is free, though the Georgia Food Shelf is accepting canned food donations, Wolff said.