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Annual event in downtown Estacada later this month will connect attendees with competitions

FILE PHOTO - Attendees of last year's Estacada Harvest Festival embark on a hayride through the city's downtown.

An Estacada tradition will soon invite attendees to fall into community.

The annual city's Harvest Festival, organized by the Downtown Estacada Commission and sponsored by Harvest Market, is scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Harvest Market Square, 280 Broadway St.

During the event, families can take a hayride through the city's downtown streets, children can paint pumpkins and attendees can participate in a chili cook-off or pie eating contest.

Additionally, there will be several new elements to this year's event, including a chance to dive through piles of hay searching for candy bars. A second new feature is being kept under wraps.

"There will be a great surprise in the middle of the event," Estacada Main Street Nancy Hoffman said with a smile, declining to elaborate further but noting that it would be a family friendly occurrence.

The day will feature activities for just about anyone.

During the festival's chilli cook-off, participants can vote for their favorite selections with their spare change. The chef who earns the most money will split all of the tips with the Downtown Estacada Commission, who will use their share to support the city's Christmas tree lighting event.FILE PHOTO - Children at last year's harvest festival race to eat pie during one of the event's competitions.

Children are an important focus of the day, and Hoffman noted that one of the festival's main goals is to allow local youths to create positive memories downtown. There will

be the pie eating contest, pumpkin painting and several

other activities for young attendees.

"We're always looking for ways for kids to compete in noncompetitive ways, where they don't need to be better than anyone to win," Hoffman said, noting that children winning prizes often helps cultivate a strong sense of community.

The Harvest Festival is a free event, and anyone interested in attending is encouraged to stop by.

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