Harvest Moon Fall Festival at Beach

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Event Hopes to Extend Season for Businesses

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, October 10, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]

Hampton Beach Precinct members and volunteers, from left, Treasurer John Gebhart, volunteer Patti Christensen, volunteer Terry Wyse, Precinct Clerk Linda Gebhart, Commissioner June White and Commissioner Gary Kubik, all pose for a picture at the site of what will be the first Hampton Beach Harvest Moon Fall Festival to be held between J and K streets on Oct. 10-11.
[Scott Yates photo].

HAMPTON -- When compared to hoards of people that usual flock to the boardwalk during the summer at Hampton Beach, Columbus Day weekend at the beach is like a ghost town.

Beach shops and restaurants like McGuirk's Ocean View Restaurant are boarded up for the winter and the only sound you hear is from the roar of the Atlantic Ocean.

But this holiday weekend officials are hoping all that will change as the Hampton Beach Village Precinct puts on its first-ever Harvest Moon Fall Festival.

"Hopefully the weather will be nice and it will bring people out," said June White, who is organizing the two-day festival at the beach. "It's going to be the last hurrah before the cold settles in."

The free event takes place Oct. 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., between 83 and 91 Ocean Blvd., in the lot where the Old Salt Restaurant used to stand.

The festival will feature numerous vendors selling their goods and wares, as well as a beer tent with a deejay.

There will also be a Boat Parade of Lights at dusk Saturday night, followed by a special fireworks shoot at 8 p.m. at the beach.

This is the first time the precinct has decided to put on an event during the fall months.

The precinct is responsible for all the advertising at the beach, as well as such events as the Sand Sculpting Competition and Hampton Beach Idol.

"It's being done to extend the season and let people know that the beach is still open in the fall and there is stuff to do," White said. "Hampton Beach is actually a really nice place to come in the fall. You don't have the crowds. It quiet and peaceful."

Parking, she said, is also free.

White said the festival include over 10 vendors selling everything from pies and breads to novelty items like pocketbooks and sunglasses.

One vendor will be selling children's books, while another will have a farm stand to hawk produce and pumpkins.

Eastman's Docks will be selling fresh fish, while Churchill's Garden Center will be offering up mums and other fall flowers.

Since there will be no hot food sold at the festival, numerous beach restaurants that would normally be closed for the season will be open.

White said the restaurants are getting in on the fun by offering different specials all with a fall flavor to them.

"The restaurants that are going to be open are going to have a scarecrow out front so people will know they are open," White said. "Some are offering hot apple cider, while others will have special desserts."

White said the festival should get a boost on Sunday because that is when Newburyport, Mass. holds its annual Fall Harvest Festival.

"It's only 10 minutes away so, hopefully, they will come up here and vice versa," White said.

Also on Sunday, Wally's Pub on Ashworth Avenue is hosting its annual Pig Roast and part of the proceeds will go to the Jimmy Fund.

White hopes the two-day festival becomes an annual tradition at the beach similar to what the Seafood Festival has become.

That festival, which started out small 20 years ago, it is now one of top 100 events in North America, according to the American Bus Association. It attracts thousands of tourists to Hampton Beach and the surrounding communities.

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