CLAYTON — The town’s annual Harvest Festival has arrived. That means downtown will soon be bustling with art vendors, live music, all types of food, carnival rides and even a tractor show on Main Street.
The Harvest Festival will run Sept. 18-22. The annual event, now more than three decades old, is sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.
Mary Beth Roberti, director of special projects for the chamber, said this is “Clayton’s biggest community event.”
Though the event is a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce, it’s more about bringing people to town and bringing them together.
The festival starts Wednesday, with carnival rides on Horne Square. The gates open at 5 p.m., with rides open until 11 p.m.
Live music begins at 7 p.m. Thursday on the Town Square. The Castaways will play.
On Friday, the Clayton Idol competition finals start at 6 p.m. on the Town Square. After the competition, audience members will get the chance to do some singing themselves.
A karaoke contest will run from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday on the Town Square. After the formal contest, open mic karaoke will run until 11 p.m.
The carnival rides on Horne Square will be open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday, Main Street will be unrecognizable from its day-to-day look. Some 175 vendors, selling everything from art to tools to food, will take over the street. Their booths will be open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the Wagner House on Main Street will play host to a kid’s corner, a new aspect of the festival this year. Children ages 4-12 are invited to drop by for a story hour, puppet show and craft time.
“Kids can make crafts and be creative,” Roberti said.
A car show sponsored will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and antique tractors will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carnival rides will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and pony rides will be available all day.
On Sunday, the festival will wrap up with a performance by the Seeds Family Worship Band, which will play from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Town Square.
“We’re hoping for as beautiful weather as we had last year,” Roberti said.
The festival has about the same number of vendors this year as last, but Roberti said it’s about to outgrow itself.
“We want to keep holding it downtown, but we’ve had to work hard to make room for all of it,” she said.