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A celebration of the season, and fun for all

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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media The bounty of fall, welcoming visitors to the annual Harvest Fest at Faith Plaza on Route 9W.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Skyla Foronda, 3, makes a new friend at last weekend’s Harvest Fest.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media A hay ride behind a tractor was one of the highlights of this year’s Harvest Fest. Aaron Flach, owner of Faith Plaza, where the festival was held, drove the tractor.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media The magician from “It’s Magic,” based out of Bennington, Vermont, entertains the crowd.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Cash Carter Metallo, 7, headed straight for the giant Legos when he arrived at Harvest Fest.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media From games to entertainment, vendors and more, Ravena’s Harvest Fest at Faith Plaza had something for everyone.
October 18, 2018 02:06 pm

RAVENA — The skies may have been threatening all day — and a few brief showers headed their way — but the annual Harvest Fest was held Oct. 13 at Faith Plaza on Route 9W.

Now in its sixth year, the festival celebrates autumn with games, entertainment, a bounce house, vendors and the fall bounty. There were even a few Minion characters, from the children’s movie of the same name, walking around the festival — to the kids’ delight — and a small goat waiting to be petted.

A magician from “It’s Magic!”, based out of Bennington, Vermont, performed, and wildlife educator Dean Davis brought his reptile show.

“It’s outreach to the community,” said Rebecca Flach, director of Hope Full Life Center, one of the event’s co-sponsors. “We love Ravena and there is an absence of a fall event in this community, so we decided to do this.”

The event is co-sponsored by Hope Full Life Center and Abounding Love Christian Church, and annually draws hundreds from all over the community.

“We are Christian organizations, and this is loving on people and showing them the face of Jesus here in Ravena, in a quiet way,” Flach said. “We want to be of service to people.”

There were vendors on hand from various organizations, games, a magic act, entertainment and a tent with giant Legos for young builders.

“We want to reach out to the community, and we also do this to benefit the Helping Harvest,” said Pastor Mary Beth Engelhardt.

Proceeds from the day went to Helping Harvest, a food assistance program that aids low-income people in the area.

“Helping Harvest is a community assistance program for people who are income qualified, usually food stamps or Social Security, or other special cases,” explained Pastor Chuck Engelhardt. “They become members and what we have in the store, we ask them to give a donation, which is a percentage of whatever the retail value is.”

The focus of the day, however, was on community and giving families and residents the chance to have a fun day in their hometown.

“The main goal for today is to let the community know that we really care for them,” Engelhardt said. “We love the people here and just want to be a blessing however we can.”

For families, there was plenty to do, and cloudy skies and a brief shower couldn’t keep them away.

Skyla Foronda, 3, made a new friend — a small goat who loved to be petted.

“This is our second time at the Harvest Fest,” Skyla’s mother said. “She likes the fishing tent. She also likes farm animals, so the goat was a real treat.”

Kathy Whitbeck brought her grandson, Cash Carter Metallo, 7. He took one look at the tent with a selection of giant Legos and made straight for it.

“He loves this whole concept. It’s just the hands-on things he can do. He is super technical, and when he saw the Legos he jumped out of the car and ran over,” Whitbeck said. “He couldn’t wait.”

Linda Bruno, from Stars Intergen, was staffing a games table as a volunteer.

“This is a great time for families with children — younger and older kids like it because there is such a variety of things to do, and it’s free,” Bruno said. “You get to see people you may not have seen for a long time. It’s a great event for the community.”