City plans festival for Oct. 6

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

With the restoration of Weddle Bridge mostly complete, the city of Sweet Home is planning a Harvest Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 6, which it hopes will be the first of many.

Two years ago, the city hosted a similar festival as part of a fund-raising effort to pay for bridge repairs and restoration.

Now, the city isn’t so much interested in raising money for the bridge, located at Sankey Park, but rather a community event focused around the bridge and park, Code Enforcement Officer Byron Wolfsong said.

“It’s something for the fall for everyone to come together and have some fun,” Planning Assistant Edene Flierl said.

The idea for the festival grew out of the fund-raising event two years ago, Community Development Director Carol Lewis said. Other than that, the only community event centered around the bridge was in 1989, when the bridge was opened.

“We want to get more people in all our parks,” Lewis said. The second reason for it “is just having a good, happy event, something fun in the park.

“I think a lot of people have put a lot of energy into the bridge.”

Now it’ll be “nice to enjoy what has happened with that,” she said. “This first festival is kind of celebrating that we actually can use our bridge again. It’s an amenity, not a liability.”

The roof and upper structure in the bridge have been completed, Lewis said. City officials would like to replace some timbers underneath the bridge over the next couple of years. The donated timbers are already in storage. Extra supports will remain under the bridge until those timbers are replaced.

Lewis said she will try to take care of the bridge repair as a normal part of the parks maintenance budget, she said, along with trying to keep up with maintenance on the bridge, keeping it from falling into the state of disrepair that forced its closure two years ago.

“It’s in good shape,” Lewis said. It’s “100 percent operational right now.”

Running vehicles over it on a regular basis would cause a problem, she said, but the bridge won’t be used for traffic.

The bridge continues to be open during most days on the Sankey Park end. The gate on the high school end of the bridge remains closed.

The bridge has not had issues with vandalism so far this year, Lewis said.

Weddle Bridge’s smaller companion, the Dahlenburg Bridge, remains closed until vandalism can be repaired.

The Harvest Festival will feature horse-drawn wagon rides by Chafin farms, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin painting, live music, a scarecrow stuffing contest and belly dancing with the Gypsy Circle.

Food vendors include the Kiwanis Club hot dog stand, Fraga Farms goat cheese and other goat milk products, Persephone Farms produce, Mary Parker’s produce and Periwinkle Provisions with granola snacks and other food.

Craft vendors will include Rona Simon with handmade dolls, Rogers Floral, Barb Locati with jewelry, Mike Riggle with cooling neck bands, Nancy Patton with gift baskets, Lisa Saultz with lotions and soaps and Miranda Gagner with candles and other items.