Perfect fall weather, with a back drop of glorious fall foliage, helped make the third annual Old Fashioned Hay Ride and Fall Fest a success this past weekend. The event was sponsored by the Beltzville Lions Club, L-TNT Pyrotechs and the Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission.
Nearly 600 visitors who came to the Weissport Park had plenty of children's activities to choose from. There was also homemade food and baked goods to sample and music to listen to after enjoying a scenic tractor-drawn hay ride along the Lehigh Canal towpath.
Wagons pulled by restored John Deere tractors, driven by Lou Seibert and Todd Dreisbach, bumped along the historic trail from Weissport to Parryville every 15 minutes as visitors got a view of the splendid foliage. The impact of the gold and red leaves reflected in the canal's water made a truly picturesque event even better.
The section of the towpath selected for this year's festival has significance to the Beltzville Lions Club, as several members have taken on the task to maintain the trail throughout the year. They have widened the path from a single trail to approximately 10 feet wide over the past summer.
After the ride, children could participate in Table or Treat with People's Evangelical Church, which offered free candy. There were also games to play, plus they could make their own leather craft necklace. Most of the activities were free for children. Jack and Jill Preschool also had free activities for children.
On Sunday, Clarence Getz of Franklin Township displayed canal artifacts he has collected over the past decades.
"I wish I could have brought more," said Getz. "I brought enough to show people just what this area looked like a long time ago."
"We really enjoyed the day," said Robert Moyer, who was also one of the winners in the Chinese auction.
Food was prepared and served by club members in addition to several food vendors. There were also vendors selling craft and home decorative items.
"The children really enjoyed the day," said Stanley Haupt, who was one of the costumed characters handing out free candy. "It had a real nice family atmosphere. And with most of the activities being free, it was family friendly."
Haupt said People's E.C. Church is looking forward to participating in the event next year.
Assisting with traffic were members of the Franklin Township Fire Police. Volunteers were also available to help elderly riders on and off the wagons so that all were able to enjoy the hay rides.