After 25 years of staging its popular FallFest, Polk State College knows what attendees want and love: crafts, entertainment and pumpkins.
This year, the College will offer all that and more when FallFest comes to the Winter Haven campus, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 15. It is free and open to the public.
According to Dr. Sharon Miller, Provost of the Winter Haven campus, “For a quarter of a century this event has been a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the season as we welcome the community to our campus. This year the event, like the College, is stronger than ever. We are very proud to share this tradition with our neighbors in Winter Haven and from throughout Polk County.”
To improve the FallFest experience this year, Lucille Hadley, FallFest coordinator, has announced that Polk State will offer a free shuttle service to and from parking sites. This amenity will help guests save their energy for FallFest — and rest their tired feet afterward.
In addition to the shuttle, another addition is a hayride that will take guests in a loop around FallFest. The hayride will be available for a nominal cost.
“I think the shuttle is going to be fabulous because it will help people get to the action. The hayride is going to be fun for kids, especially, and it will make FallFest feel even more like a country fair,” said Matina Wagner, enrollment services and outreach coordinator at Polk State and coordinator of the FallFest information booth and volunteer force.
The craft show has long been the foundation of FallFest. This year there was early demand among crafters for tables to sell their wares, with all 170 spots reserved several weeks earlier than expected. Of the 170 crafters, about 30 are new to FallFest.
Attendees will enjoy browsing and buying a wide variety of homemade items, including soaps and body scrubs made of all-natural ingredients, floral arrangements, clothing and children’s toys.
“Attendees will love the unique crafts, unique jewelry and unique vendors. You don’t want to miss it,” Hadley said.
In addition to crafts, attendees will enjoy all the long-standing elements that have made FallFest so successful, including:
- A Kids Zone, complete with LaSertoma’s Pumpkin Patch, magic shows and balloon art by Paul Weatherbee, hands-on activities and face painting.
- A Haunted House staged by Physical Therapist Assistant students, which involves transforming an ordinary classroom into a frightful place full of ghosts and goblins.
- Musical performances by Polk State students and local bands.
- The Polk State Emergency Medical Services program’s Team Day. Paramedic students will test their skills with a simulated crash scene. There will also be emergency vehicles on display and demonstrations by various fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies.
Rounding out the event will be on-site adoptions of greyhounds through GREAT Inc. (Greyhound Rescues and Adoptions of Tampa Bay Inc.), and plenty of food for sale to benefit Polk State College’s athletic teams. Members of Winter Haven Quilters will display their creations and give a quilt-making demonstration. Polk State students will also display their artwork.
FallFest regularly draws thousands of attendees. It serves as a fundraiser to benefit various student organizations and the Polk State College Foundation.