Friday, 20 September 2013 10:18

Henry Street Harvest Festival Offers Fall Family Fun

By Chelsea DiSchiano | Families Today
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Temperatures are dropping, bursts of color are peeking through the trees and pumpkin-flavored everything has arrived in restaurants and coffee shops. Fall is officially here, meaning plenty of family-friendly activities are being offered—including the 4th Annual Henry Street Harvest Festival. This Sunday, September 22, Henry Street will be closed off between Lake Avenue and Caroline Street so attendees can mill about the many booths and activities that will be placed outside for everyone to enjoy, including live music, food provided by the street’s restaurants, pumpkin decorating, face painting and more. The Henry Street Harvest Festival began four years ago when Simplicity Salon owner Tina Levielle-Briscoe decided she wanted to do something with a nonprofit organization to help the community. As fate would have it, one of her clients, Joni Hanchett, was on the journey to opening a nonprofit hospice that would give 24/7 care to those who couldn’t afford it. Hanchett’s mission hit home to Levielle-Briscoe, whose father passed away in a nursing home. “My dad didn’t have hospice care and he passed away in a nursing home,” she said. “So [Gateway] is personal for me, but it’s something that affects everybody.” Since the festival first opened four years ago, it has since “blossomed and evolved” to include more vendors and attendees, and the businesses of Henry Street have even formed their own Henry Street Association with a desire to organize events beyond the festival. “This year the festival is different—it’s really taking on its own form,” Levielle-Briscoe said. “There is more community help on the street, plus new restaurants that will be participating.” Relatively new to the street are restaurants Merry Monk and Henry Street Taproom, both of which will sell various menu items outside. The Chocolate Spoon will have a booth selling cookies and will also have cookies for kids to decorate. The library and Children’s Museum will have more family-friendly activities such as face painting and pumpkin decorating, and the Saratoga Clay Arts Center will have a booth where children can make rattles (though they will have to pick up the finished products at the center after they go through the kiln). Karmic Synergy Wellness will also be on hand to show kids how to be “food detectives” by determining unhealthy ingredients on labels. Students of the Saratoga Springs City School District are encouraged to stop by Levielle-Briscoe’s Simplicity Salon, where they can buy “Blue Streak” blue hair extensions for $10 or blue wristbands for $5. “We’re really encouraging athletes and the high school teams to come in and get the blue streaks to show their school spirit,” Levielle-Briscoe said. “Last year the volleyball team came in and got them. This year we have 100 blue extensions and we want to use all of them.” Other highlights of the festival include live music provided by Tom Choiniere, Irish dancers and radio station 101.3 will be on deck to provide music from noon to 2 p.m. The event is free and will take place rain or shine—if it does rain, many businesses will host vendor booths inside so attendees can still visit from business to business. Proceeds from all the vendor booths will go directly to Gateway House of Peace, which hopes to open to residents this year. Past years of the Harvest Festival helped donate to the remodeling efforts of the home, which are now almost finished. The hospice is now trying to raise the remaining funds needed for the operating costs of opening and keeping the home running for its residents. “The Henry Street Harvest Festival serves both the community and businesses, so it’s a great event,” Levielle-Briscoe said. The festival runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Henry Street in downtown Saratoga Springs. Those who wish to volunteer with the hospice or donate to the cause can do so by visiting www.gatewayhouseofpeace.org.
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