Fall Festival features fun

Sept. 27 event benefits area non-profit agencies
MEEKER — It won’t be long, and fall will have arrived.
It also means the Fall Festival is almost here.
The day-long event, sponsored by Mountain Valley Bank and co-sponsored by White River Electric Association, is held annually on the last Saturday of September, which, this year, will be the 27th.
This will be the fifth year for the Fall Festival.
“We’re trying hard to make this more of a community event,” said Tawny Halandras, vice president of lending for Mountain Valley Bank. “It’s one of the last days of summer, and it’s a great event for kids and for families.”
For groups or individuals trying to raise money for a good cause, here’s a chance to partner with a community event.
“We want to give as many nonprofits a chance to participate,” Halandras said. “But it’s first come, first served.”
On average, each participating “non-profit” receives $250, Halandras said. So, what or who qualifies as a nonprofit?
“We use the term loosely,” Halandras said. “If you have a reason to be raising funds for a good community cause, you are considered a nonprofit.”
Each nonprofit group or individual sets up a booth to sell food or promote an activity. The event takes place on Main Street, in front of the bank, and at the elementary school playground, across from the bank.
In 2005, there were 26 booths at Fall Festival, which is the high, so far. Last year, there were 17 booths.
“Any booth there represents a nonprofit,” Halandras said.
Sponsors of the event provide a pool of $5,000 in Mountain Valley Bucks. Each person attending the event receives $5 in Mountain Valley Bucks. Bring a non-perishable food item — donated to the Food Bank — and receive another $2 in Mountain Valley Bucks.
“We find people who are here have fun spending their own dollars, too,” Halandras said. “Every dollar that is spent at the Fall Festival benefits a not-for-profit group.”
As part of Fall Festival, Pioneers Medical Center sponsors the “Scrub Shirt Classic,” 5K run or one-mile walk.
There’s also the Fall Festival Challenge, where participants play and score in five activity booths. The top five accumulated scorers advance to the Final Toy Assembly Contest. A grand prize is awarded to the best toy assembler.
“It is the first person to get the toy assembled correctly and run through some type of course,” Halandras said. “For example, last year they had to assemble a red wagon and then run a figure eight through pylons, with the wagon in tow. The toy has to stay together and work properly through the course.”
For the bank, she said, Fall Festival is a way to give back to the community.
“It’s a promotion, but we’re not pushing a product,” Halandras said. “You can be a customer or not a customer.”
She said the event benefits the nonprofits and is fun for the community.
“This is an event we don’t hesitate to brag about,” Halandras said. “It creates a win-win for everyone involved.”