BY SAM SCOTT
The tradition of the Balls Falls Thanksgiving Festival celebrated its 43rd year this weekend.
Held on the conservation area, the event had over 150 vendors selling food, jewellery, art and clothing.
With the Christmas shopping season approaching, more than 25,000 guests were estimated to be in attendance throughout the weekend.
Becky Segato has been attending the festival with her husband for the past 24 years. They began going while dating, and have turned it into a family tradition with their two children.
“There are lots of returning vendors that we see every year and see what new things they have to offer. It is something we consider family time. The kids always like to go see the birds of prey, get apple fritters and eat at the different food trucks.”
The conservation area is set on a heritage site. The old Ball family home, the mill and the on-site chapel were running tours throughout the day.
Kayla Quesnel, 12, attended the event with her family. “I liked the event because every time you looked around people were always smiling and having fun with their families. It was really cool to go into the old buildings and see how they lived back in the day.”
In addition to the festival, families were able to go for hikes throughout the conservation to look at the upper and lower falls.
The mild weather this weekend gave attendees the perfect fall day for walking around and taking in the event.
Vendors come from all across Ontario to sell their products over the weekend.
“Every year we go there are new vendors and it gets bigger. It brings family and people together and allows them to have a great day. It’s also a nice area that people can explore and the community can thrive”, said Segato.
Bouncy castles, face painting and train rides were free for all of the children.
Paul Quesnel, Kayla’s grandfather, loves collecting Christmas decorations. “They had so many booths featuring Christmas products that were really amazing. It is stuff that I know I wouldn’t be able to buy at the store, such as glass-made Santa statues. They are made special by these vendors who make them by hand.”
Admission for children 14 and under was free and for adults the price was $6.
For more information on volunteering or becoming a vendor, check out the Balls Falls festival website.