OAKHURST — One of the area’s most exciting events returns to the Oakhurst Community Park for three days starting Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 13, as the Oakhurst Fall Festival materializes after months of labor and love. Sponsored by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, the cost to attend is just $3 per entry per day or — new this time around: a three-day admission wristband to the largest event in Eastern Madera County for only $5. This is the 27th year of the extravaganza in its various incarnations, and this year is set to be one of the best ever.
Why’s it so great? Let’s start with the midway. This is the only time of year that carnival rides are erected in the immediate area and that’s a really big deal. We’re talking about features including Jalopy Junction, Jeeps Ride and inflatables for younger kids, while Paratrooper and Mindwinder are slated for the rest of the willing crowd. The midway opens on Friday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. and tickets are available on site. Friday’s activities include rides, lawn games, vendors, food trucks and booths, roving characters and free entertainment — Phil Miller the Music Man takes the stage when gates open. The cost for some activities, including midway rides, is in addition to the cost of entry to the festival, and this still winds up being a super fun and family-friendly, even affordable, event.
Another reason to absolutely love this all-community party located close to the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park? The force is strong, though reportedly there’s been a disturbance. Fear not, we have the remedy. That’s right — Friday night at 7 p.m. all would-be Padawans will want to train with the Jedi Academy. Induction starts at 7 p.m. – no prior training is necessary and all ages are welcome to participate or watch — it’s awesome either way. The fun on Friday night goes until 8 p.m.
And you can be back on that midway by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 for more rides, more food, fun games, just-what-you-want vendors, free fabulous entertainment and wine and beer tasting with souvenir tasting glasses (from noon to 7 p.m.).Throughout the weekend, meet friendly wandering characters for photo ops, get some professional face painting done and stop by to check out the popular group Oakhurst Rocks for some rock painting creativity. There’s even a Where’s Woody scavenger hunt.
Saturday’s entertainment includes Terry Robinson (10 a.m.), Yosemite High School’s Badger marching band (noon), Good Medicine (1 p.m.) and the Dave Henderson Band (4 p.m.)
Not specifically connected to the Fall Festival but right on your way is the local Authors Faire, situated just outside the fest and adjacent to the library. Come by and say hello to your local authors, including Jennifer Moss and me — we’ll be representing Yosemite Home Companion and look forward to seeing you there.
Of special note on Saturday night is the fire dancing show brought to the festival by locally famed professional group, Mana Fire Dancers. If you haven’t seen them perform, this is a terrific opportunity. It’s a scintillating show that’s perfect for all ages and in this case, it’s free — starting at 7 p.m..
Sunday, Oct. 13 the Oakhurst Fall Festival opens up at 10 a.m. and continues with rides, games, vendors, food and entertainment to 4 p.m. At 10 a.m. you can kick things off listening to Ed Tide and his Open Mic Friends and at 2 p.m. — Jubilee Bound.
It’s shaping up to be a positively glorious fall weekend in the foothills. What better way to spend some time than strolling through the booths, dancing to the live music, taking part in engaging activities, sampling food trucks and enjoying all the ambient fun of the festival during the most beautiful time of year in the Sierra foothills. And did we mention? Children 5 years old and under get in for free.