The Transylvania Times -

'Harvestfest' To Provide Fun For Families


September 11, 2017

Two county organizations focused on families and children are joining forces to present a fun-filled day this fall aimed at entertaining kids and adults while raising money to support the groups' programs.

"We've been planning this since, oh, last Christmas, and it's been fun!" said Marilyn Stifflear, a board member of the Children's Center of Transylvania County and its fundraising chairman.

"It's natural for us to collaborate," said Erin Drew, director of the Family Place of Transylvania County, which has two centers in the county. "We both have the same concerns for the welfare of families and their children... and we both want to provide family fun events."

The event is called Harvestfest and it's set for Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Masonic Lodge on East Main Street here.

"Families, mark your calendars!" Drew said. "You and your children don't want to miss this!"

Volunteers from the two organizations will deck out the lodge's downstairs hall with an autumn harvest theme and keep the doors open from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, a prime period for family activities. There is no general admission fee; however there will be fees for most activities.

There'll be a pie-baking contest, a host of children's games and activities, a chance to build scarecrows and take them home, dog and cat stuffed animals in a wide assortment of outfits for sale, a super raffle and even a hula-hoop contest and face-painting.

"There'll be something for everyone," said Joan Barham, the Family Place's board vice chairman. " That's right," added Jeni Smith, program director for the Children's Center. "No one's going to be bored at Harvestfest!"

The two organizations hope to raise up to $5,000 each at the event. That will help support their many programs and activities, all aimed at ensuring healthy and happy families.

The Family Place encourages parents to come to its centers with their children to play, learn and grow and to interact with other families to build friendships and support systems. Child care is provided for some programs and parent chats.

The Children's Center provides services for abused and neglected children in the county. They include operating a facility where children, such as foster children can visit with family members, forensic interviews can take place and parents can receive one-on-one mentoring to improve parenting skills.

The center is located in a converted house on Johnson Street in downtown Brevard. The Family Place is on Old Hendersonville Highway outside Brevard, with a second location in Rosman.

Pie In Your Eye?

"We won't have a pie-throwing contest at Harvest-fest," said Drew laughingly, "but our pie-baking contest should be just as much fun."

There will be adult and children categories, with an entry fee of $10. A contestant must bake two pies of the same kind in any of three categories: fruit, dessert and savory. Drew said descriptions of those types will be available upon entry.

Judges will pay $5 each for the privilege of tasting and rating samples of each pie, with prizes awarded in each category.

"Right now we are looking for contestants," said Drew. "We need pie bakers!"

Entry information is available by calling the Family Place or emailing Drew at esdfamilyplace@

In addition to the pie contest, Family Place volunteers are also in charge of refreshments and music. They'll be working in the lodge's kitchen to provide food and beverages for sale and are planning live music by local groups.

Children's Center volunteers are in charge of the full-size scarecrows. For $25, you can build your own, with the center providing all the materials and instructions.

"You can take it home as a decoration or actually put it out in a garden to scare the crows," laughed Stifflear.

And then there will be a scarecrow "photo op," she said. Volunteers have made up "a family of headless scarecrows" designed for people to stand behind and place their heads in the neck space. That will be set up for anyone wanting to take a humorous picture.

Stifflear said the Center will also put out about 75 of the stuffed animals, each dressed in homemade outfits.

"At $20, they'll make cuddly companions for the kids to take home... or perfect gifts for the future," Stifflear added.

The raffle will be one of the highlights. Tickets will be $1 or six for $5 and are on sale in advance at The Children's Center Emporium, a shop the organization runs on South Broad Street in downtown Brevard. You'll also be able to buy them at the event, but you need not be present to win.

The prize is a basket full of gift cards worth some $300, offering different family fun activities. All were donated by local merchants, among them, Big Mike's restaurant, The Children Center Empor-ium, Co-ed Cinema, Downtown Chocolates, Friends of the Library Second Floor Book Store, Grammy's 3.0 restaurant, Highland Books, Kiwi Gelato, Pisgah Forest Gem Mine and Rockin' Bowl.

Both organizations always have a need for more volunteers, and donations to help support their work are always welcome, too. Contact is easy at either of their telephone numbers, 885-7286 for the Children's Center and 883-4857 for the Family Place.


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