Noe Valley Voice October 2008

Saddle Up for the 4th Annual Harvest Fest on 24th Street

By Heather World

Pie on your face, dogs dressed like Zorro, rockin' live music, and of course the Pumpkin Patch--all of it returns to 24th Street between Church and Sanchez for the fourth annual Noe Valley Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 25.

This year, children will find a new storytelling booth along with traditional favorites, like the jumpy tent, kids costume contest, and the hayride down 24th. Jugglers, a stilt walker, a caricaturist, and a balloon artist will wander amid more than 60 booths, many run by local artists.

The festival, sponsored by the Noe Valley Association (NVA), the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, Friends of Noe Valley, and a dozen local businesses, starts at 10 a.m. and continues till 5 p.m.

NVA fair organizer Kathy White, who has lived in Noe Valley for 12 years, expects a big crowd. Her guess is the festival drew about 10,000 people last year. "The jumpy tent was so popular I barely left it all day," she said.

"The theme is to try to support locals," said volunteer Andrew Keeler, an 11-year Noe Valley resident who is directing the festival's musical entertainment for the fourth year in a row.

Four bands will play the main stage at 24th and Church, and six others, mostly folky, will perform at the nearby farmer's market. James Lick Middle School Band starts the show at 10:30 a.m., followed by the popular Playdate at 12:15 p.m. Contests--kids costume (11:30 a.m.), dogs costume (1 p.m.), and pie-eating (1:45 p.m.)--go on between acts.

"The audience changes throughout the day, and we try to tailor to that," said Keeler.

Funk band Groovus will raise the volume at 2 p.m., and the bluesy Nitecaps will close the show starting at 4 p.m.

The farmer's market will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there will be pre-made foods and fresh juice for sale along with the organic fruits and vegetables.

You can climb aboard the hayride by lining up in front of Walgreen's on Castro Street near Jersey. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., two horses will pull a 12-person wagon along 24th Street. That event is sponsored by Zephyr Real Estate, and the wagon comes from the Indian Valley Carriage Company in Novato, owned by former Noe Valley Nursery School teacher Gary Sello.

Non-profit organizations will offer hands-on art and science for the little ones. AAA will have information about child seats and teen driver safety, among other topics. An alternative fuel car will be on display, too.

Several local realtors are among the sponsors of the fair, including Hill & Co., Sterling Bank, and Droubi Team/Coldwell Banker. Shops and cafes like Eye Level Optometry, Small Frys, Café Ponte, and Basso's Restaurant have pitched in as well.

White said that generous sponsorships from Wells Fargo Bank and the American Automobile Association may mean the festival can expand beyond its four-block radius next year.

"I'd like to go all the way to Castro, if I could," said White.

Last year's proceeds went toward flower boxes along 24th Street, she said.

"If we make a profit, we're putting it back in the street."

Parking is available at James Lick Middle School on 25th Street between Castro and Noe streets.