FINDLEY LAKE - Findley Lake is a destination where people go to relax and enjoy the atmosphere surrounding the lake.
This weekend's 17th annual Harvest Festival directly reflected that notion as vendors lined up and down Main Street on Saturday. People from all over came for live music, wine tasting, crafts and more. Ever since the festival's beginning in1997, the event continues to draw many visitors not only to the festival, but also to the lake and the calm nature of the hamlet.
Brett Mason, who is a native of Pittsburgh, displayed water color art he created for the third year. He heard about the festival from Jeff Horner, event coordinator, a couple of years ago and told him to come to Findley Lake.
Joanne Merrick-Johnson, from Victoria, British Columbia, sculpts an eagle out of clay.
P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy
"I didn't know anything about it at the time since I had never been here," Mason said. "It's pretty much is cool as you can get for relaxing. It's very laid-back kind of atmosphere. There's stuff for kids to do and there's room for vendors to come down and pitch tents. To me, it's like a vacation. I'm used to doing bigger shows, and to me this is a working vacation."
Mason has been doing water color art for 10 years. He works on the spot doing both oil and water color paintings as he goes to out-of-town festivals in different areas.
Heading past the Findley Lake Market was Joanne Merrick-Johnson of Victoria, British Columbia, sculpting an eagle out of clay. She has been sculpting for 30 years and has been teaching the art for 20 years. This is her first year at the annual Harvest Festival.
"It's very exciting and fun," Merrick-Johnson said. "A lot of people who are coming to me are getting educated about sculpting. Like I've told them; you get a piece exactly the way you want it and it gets to the point of being leather-hard. Then you have to cut it up; hollow it all out; put it all back together again and hope it doesn't blow up in the kiln. If you have any kind of air pockets in the piece, it'll blow. It's things people don't know about."
Joanne Malecki has owned a summer home in Findley Lake since 1970, and moved in permanently six years ago. She volunteers at the Findley Lake Community Library and was selling books as part of a large book sale being held. The annual event, according to Malecki, gives people coming from out of town a sense of what the community of Findley Lake is all about.
"The festival allows people to become familiar with the area, which is very nice," Malecki said. "There's always cottages for rent and a lot of people that come down here say that they would like to really live here. They can be our guest. I absolutely love this area. A lot of organizations chip in together and do things for the community."
Just up the street from the library going toward the lake stood a tent displaying baby knitted hats, sweaters and booties from Louise Freeman. It was her first year back after being gone for eight years.
"The people that live down here in the community are always nice," Freeman said.
Saturday is the biggest day for the Harvest Festival with live entertainment from DJ Bubble Lady throughout the afternoon. During the day, people were able to taste, wine, purchase cotton candy and sugar waffles and buy crafts. Windy River provided live music during the evening with the lighting of flares along the perimeter of the lake as the sun set. Fireworks concluded evening events at the Harvest Festival.
Today, live music will be conducted by DJ Marty's Bubble Gum Machine. A "Kids Got Talent" contest will conclude the annual festival.