The Athens Harvest Festival and Bluegrass Jamboree will take place at Lake Snowden this weekend for the third time.
The festival will begin Aug. 31 and last through Sept. 2. The gates will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
“Labor Day Weekend is a weekend to celebrate the end of Summer and all of the hard work that our community has put in so far this year.. especially the farmers,” Edward Charles, the founder of the festival, said in an email.
The festival will feature a large farmers market, bluegrass music and beer from local breweries. There will also be a fireworks display Sunday.
“We are hyper-focused on celebrating the folks who labored year round to produce all of the wide varieties of locally grown fruits and vegetables (and) animals,” Charles said in an email.
The Athens Harvest Festival kitchen has purchased nearly all of its ingredients from local vendors to help highlight how important it is to support local farm families.
“I want to go because I love fall activities,” said Jackie Stevens, a senior studying communication studies at Ohio University. “I have never been but this festival seems like a wholesome family fun sort of atmosphere.”
There will be a kid’s area at the festival that will have inflatables and a straw castle for kids to play on. There will also be more art for families to enjoy, such as a huge beehive installation.
In addition, there will be contests to win cash prizes. The contests are also centered around local farmers. People will compete in food-eating contests, including apples, corn and pumpkin pie. All of the food used during the contests have been purchased from local vendors.
“I want to go to be part of and engage with the Athens community,” Stevens said.
The community of Athens will be highlighted not only through the local food, but through the bluegrass music that will be played all throughout the festival. There will be 13 different musical acts throughout the festival, including String Therapy, the Sandy Tar Brothers and Blue Moon Soup.
Lake Snowden was chosen as the location of the event because of the nature surrounding the lake.
“Lake Snowden is a beautiful location to host an event. Not only is it a perfect Appalachian nature backdrop for family fun and music but it is easily accessible to surrounding towns by being right off the highway,” Charles said in an email.
Charles is not only excited about showing off all of the local food vendors, but the music that will be performed.
“I'm a huge Bluegrass fan so the music is always a high point for me,” Charles said in an email.
Stevens said she hopes to attend the festival to engage in the Athens community and the wholesomeness of the event.
“It seems like this event represents the fun-loving attitude that Athens residents of all ages seem to possess made tangible,” Stevens said.