It may still feel like summer, but the annual Fall Festival of the Arts and Crafts will take place this weekend on and around the Main and Elm streets parking lot.
Sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., the festivities will open with a chili cook-off Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The fall festival will run Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We are so excited about this event,” said Bridgette Kelch, Downtown Washington Inc. executive director. “We have more chili teams and more crafters than last year and an expanded, fun-filled children’s area. It’s going to be a good time for all ages.”
There will be live music all weekend beginning Friday with Dave Bennett, who will play from 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, Solo Richie will perform from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. followed by Misty Mountain Band from 2 to 6 p.m.
Die Spitzbaum will be the featured entertainment Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Kelch said there also will be a large food court featuring local favorites, such as Sugarfire, Joe’s Bakery, Ernesto’s and Lions Club. Funnel cakes and handmade pretzels also will be sold.
The weather forecast also looks good, Kelch said.
“It might be a little warm, but we’ll be happy with all of that sunshine,” she said. “There is no rain in the forecast so far and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it stays that way.”
If the weather is good, Kelch expects a crowd of close to 2,000 for the chili cook-off and another 15,000 for the two-day festival.
A total of 40 teams will compete Friday night for best chili, booth displays and other special competitions.
This is the 16th year for the cook-off and Kelch is excited to see participation so high.
Each cook-off team will have a donation canister at their booth for the public to vote for their favorite with all of the money going to the United Way campaign.
For those who don’t like chili, the United Way will have a booth selling hot dogs, chips and cookies.
The cost to sample the chili is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the downtown office and online.
Kelch said 67 artists and crafters will be set up along Main and Elm streets Saturday and Sunday.
“We have so many more vendors this year that booths will be set up past the old Calvin Theater on Elm Street, a block longer than last year, and down Main Street to near Lafayette Street,” she said.
Items to be on sale will include soaps, jewelry, original artwork, quilts, clothing, handmade wood furniture/signs and decorative items. Several downtown shops also will have booths.
Kelch said there are many new crafters participating for the first time, as well as some longtime favorites returning.
The children’s area will be set up in the parking lot between YHTI and the Hoopla Junk off Elm Street. It will follow the same hours as the festival.
Several organizations will have booths set up in the lot and children can play a variety of games, including life-sized Connect Four and Jenga.
Kelch said kids also can get their hair sprayed in different colors.
On Saturday, Louie the Lightning Bug will be there from 10 a.m. to noon followed by Ronald McDonald at 2 p.m. and Elsa from the movie, “Frozen,” from 3 to 5 p.m.
Elroy the Elk from the Elks Lodge will be the special guest Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
On both days, a life-size T-Rex dinosaur will be roaming the children’s area and there will be a snake exhibit. Snow cones also will be sold.