Continuing on with a Halloween-season staple for local residents, the city of Santa Clarita held its annual Harvest Festival SENSES Block Party on Thursday.
Filled with games such as pumpkin bowling, pumpkin smashing with a sledgehammer, pumpkin ring toss, R/C car pig racing, corn hole, among a number of other street-appropriate games, the Harvest Festival seemed to carry a higher level of excitement this year, according to a number of people in attendance.
“It was fun to be out after being cooped up,” said Esperanza Luera, referencing spending a year and a half spent during COVID-19 not going to festivals. Luera said she had attended the festival to hear the good music, view the Scarecrow Alley competition, and enjoy everything else the festival had to offer.
In order to get to the Scarecrow Alley competition, one of the flagship events for this year’s Harvest Festival, one would have to walk by a litany of Main Street restaurants decorated with fall decor and packed with patrons either watching the event from the side or tuning into the Los Angeles Dodgers’ victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Walking further down the street, one could see kids lining up to take their best shot in pumpkin-themed games to win tickets that could be later cashed in for their very own, very real pumpkin.
“We just came here to have a good time, enjoy the music; I’m excited for the food trucks,” said Kaleb Gottfredson, 15, who was in attendance with his siblings and mother. “It’s a tradition and it’s fun to come here.”
“I love getting my kids out because Santa Clarita is a great city to do family activities,” said Sherri Gottfredson, Kaleb’s mom. “We get to socialize and listen to music.”
An inflatable slide was set up for parents and kids to enjoy together, street vendors sold food and drinks to their patrons, and as families completed each activity others took time to vote in the scarecrow competition.
This year, the themes varied, from concepts that depicted kids’ favorite video games, to classic Disney animation characters, to scarecrows promoting a cause — such as one scarecrow in a wheelchair wearing a Triumph Foundation T-shirt in support of those battling paralysis.
A $50 gift card was awarded to the top entry in the following three categories: Classic, Creepy and Creative. A People’s Choice winner was to be selected from all entries and will receive a $100 gift card.
“This is our last one of the year, so we wanted to go big with the pumpkin spice feel and classic Harvest Theme,” said Casey Miller, an events coordinator with the city. “We’ve got one thousand pumpkins on the street and quite a few pumpkin-themed activities.”
“You can just feel the good energy,” said Miller. “People walk by as we’re setting up, they tell us that they’re so happy that we’re here, they tell us that they can’t wait to come out. The city puts on events like this because it just brings the community together in such a good and positive way.”