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Fall in Chautauqua County brings pumpkin carving, the changing of leaves and the Findley Lake Harvest Festival. For its 20th year, the festival returns on September 1 – 3, and this year will make its home at the corners of Route 426 and Route 430 in Findley Lake. Six thousand people come to the festival every year from as far away as Ohio and Buffalo. Festival organizers promise that 35 to 40 local crafters and vendors will once again offer all sorts of hand-crafted items and festival food along the town’s streets.
“It’s the busiest weekend of the year. Flat out our busiest, by a lot,” said Bill Simpkins, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Sales Manager of Our Own Candle Company which has helped coordinate the festival for the last three years. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Findley Lake Harvest Festival. Preparing for the event started in early May and took a few months to make sure all of the details fell into place.
Beer and Music
“The atmosphere is very festive,” Simpkins said. “Especially after 3 o’clock.” The popular beer tent will sell a variety of craft beers in front of Our Own Candle Company, where organizers hope people will stop in next and smell the warm scents of apple pie and mulled cider–candles. Adults can enjoy a beer and listen to live music at the beer tent and the gazebo.
Rankin & Schell will kick off the festival at the beer tent Friday night. Several bands, including Brokenstraw, Gem City Revival, Matt & Josh, and others will play at the beer tent and gazebo Saturday and Sunday.
Local Artists, Wines and Food
“The festival brings people into town to see what Findley Lake is like and see what we have to offer,” Simpkins said. “Everybody loves it and it’s just a lot of fun for everyone.” Local wineries, for example, Mazza Vineyards and Thousand Islands Winery, will stage wine tastings along Main Street. Food vendors will tempt festival guests with an array of tasty foods like the popular sausage sandwiches, kettle corn and funnel cakes.
Local artist and artisans will set up their best work throughout town to show their paintings, wood carvings, photographs, and more. Vendors will display a wide mix of unique, hand crafted gifts such as fine jewelry, wire sculptures, hand-painted bottle caps and wind chimes. One-of-a-kind creations by Lake Erie Driftwood, beer growlers by Moose Head Pottery and a wide variety of favorite homemade ice cream flavors by Krasa’s Kove will be on offer.
For the Kids
“The kids’ setup is bigger than it’s ever been,” Simpkins said. The Kids Carnival is slated for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of Our Own Candle Company. A kids’ park offers giant slides, crafts, bounce house, obstacle course, games and more for $3 for all day entertainment.
The Findley Lake Festival is scheduled for Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. For more info, visit www.findleylakeinfo.org.