Compiled by Angie Fenton
Historical photos courtesy Stuart B. Wrege Indiana History Room | New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
Photo of Harvest Homecoming mural created by Wilfred Sieg III was taken by Tony Bennett
Photo of the Harvest Homecoming queens provided by Tyler Zoller Photography
ON THE NIGHT of Oct. 10, 1967, the community of New Albany debuted its inaugural Pumpkin Festival with a parade. The following weekend, folks gathered downtown to enjoy a farmers market, the sale of pumpkin pie, cider and barbecued chicken, a public square dance, and a battle of the bands. Downtown merchants held a Harvest of Values Square, and the festival culminated with pumpkin growing and decorating and costume contests.
While the initial festival was the creation of the New Albany Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee – founding members included Cora Jacobs, Henry Ramsier and Paul Lipps – today the annual event beckons hundreds of thousands of visitors to what is now known as Harvest Homecoming.
In its 50th year, Harvest Homecoming is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and is managed by an all-volunteer board of directors and officers. Bradley Needham is the acting president; David White serves as the board chairman.
In the 1980s, the organization added a souvenir pin program, which helps to support the festival and charitable endeavors. Earlier this year, several officers and longtime volunteers traveled to the Indiana State House for a proclamation celebrating the golden anniversary of Harvest Homecoming.
This year’s theme – Harvest of Gold – kicks off Oct. 7 with opening ceremonies followed by the parade, which has drawn a number of celebrities as Grand Marshal over the decades, including The Monkees Davy Jones, James Drury of the television western The Virginian, country singer Louise Mandrel and golf champion Fuzzy Zoeller.
Events – many of which are free – vary from the 50-year-old pumpkin decorating and costume contests to the annual Business Luncheon to a dog show and a baby photo contest. And then, of course, there are the booth days, which are Oct. 12 through Oct. 15.
DID YOU KNOW?
Harvest Homecoming has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships through the “Who Wants to be a College Student” contest.
The festival is a staple for many nonprofits who depend on proceeds from booth sales to ensure they continue to operate.
Crusade for Children is one of several beneficiaries of the festival, which has given thousands of dollars to charity.
Volunteers of all ages are always needed; anyone is welcome to give back and join the Harvest family. Contact Haley Matheny at 812.786.6779 or hmatheny@harvesthomecoming. com for more information.
Win A 1967 Ford Mustang!
Want the opportunity to win a vermillion red 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe? Purchase one of only 300 chances to win this 50-year-old car in honor of Harvest Homecoming’s 50th anniversary for $100 per chance by Oct. 15. Proceeds will benefit various Kentuckiana charities. Call Rosie Bryant 502.541.4056 for more information.
MEET THE QUEENS
2017 Miss Harvest Homecoming
Tiarra Taylor is honored and grateful to be representing her hometown of New Albany as Miss Harvest Homecoming 2017. Tiarra attends Indiana State University as a sophomore majoring in English Teaching. She is excited to advocate for her platform, the YMCA, as more than just a provider of swim and gym services. Along with the goal of encouraging citizens across our great Hoosier state to get involved with their local YMCA, Tiarra is grateful for the opportunity to reach into the heart of her community with the Harvest Homecoming Festival.
2017 Miss HHC’s Outstanding Teen
Meg is both honored and excited to be your 2017 Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen. She is a 15-year-old sophomore at Floyd Central High School, where she is an athlete and honors student. Meg resides in Indiana’s first capital city, Corydon, with her parents and two younger siblings. She is the founder of her platform, Meg’s Mirror Message. Her mission is for every girl to look in the mirror and love who she sees. She works with her peers in our community, shares her story of having self-confidence issues and introduces journaling as a method of self-help. Meg’s goal is to become the Miss Harvest Homecoming’s Outstanding Teen she always looked up to when she was younger, while also promoting her platform and the Harvest Homecoming Festival during her year of service.
DON’T MISS EVENTS
*This is only a small sampling of events. For a complete list, go to www.harvesthomecoming.com.
SATURDAY, OCT. 7
Opening Ceremonies: 11:30 a.m., Seventh and Spring streets
Kick off the 2017 Harvest Homecoming festival at opening ceremonies. Musical entertainment TBA and will begin at 10:30 am. Stay and watch the annual parade!
Harvest Homecoming Parade: 12 p.m., starts at New Albany High School and ends at Bank and Elm streets
Come experience over-the-top floats, vintage cars, and loud bands with the Harvest of Gold Parade. The parade kicks off at 12 p.m. from New Albany High School, marches down Vincennes Street, takes a right on Spring Street and ends on Bank Street. You can have a front row seat to all the action along any street! The Harvest Homecoming Festival is also a proud supporter of Hope Southern Indiana, so please bring your canned goods to be collected during the parade.
SUNDAY, OCT. 8
Pumpkin Decorating Contest: 2 p.m., New Albany Farmers Market on corner of Bank and Market streets
This is Harvest Homecoming’s oldest event! Group- or individually-prepared pumpkins may be painted or decorated with any material. Craft entries may be ceramic, fiber or maché. No previous year craft entries accepted. There will be two Grand Champion Awards (one from the Individual category and one from the Group category) for the entry most closely related to this year’s theme, “Harvest of Gold.” All entrants receive participation award. This event is free. All pumpkins must be picked up and taken from event. Any leftover pumpkins will be thrown away.
MONDAY, OCT. 9
Kids’ Dog Show: 5 p.m. registration; 5:30 p.m. start time, at New Albany Amphitheater
Open to kids ages 3-13 years old. Dogs must be at least six months old, have all shots and be on a leash or contained. Awards for Best Costume, Best Trick, A Face Only A Mother Could Love, Best Groomed, Best Overall and Most Interesting Pet (this can be any legal, domestic animal; same vaccination and leash/containment rules apply). Entrants can enter maximum of three categories.
TUESDAY, OCT. 10
Pumpkin Chunking Competition: 6 p.m., Purdue Polytechnic New Albany, 3000 Technology Ave.
Watch teams of all ages fire pumpkins from a gravity-powered trebuchet in this high-flying competition. Awards for accuracy, originality and efficiency will be presented.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 11
Senior Bingo: 2:30 p.m., Providence Diversicare Transitional Community, 4915 Charlestown Road
BINGO games for the Senior Living Community of Providence Retirement Home. Prizes awarded to winners. Refreshment will be served and lots of fun will be had by all.
THURSDAY, OCT. 12
Craft & Food Booth Days Begin: Booths are open 12 to 9 p.m. Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 14 and 12 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 on Market, Pearl and Bank streets.
FRIDAY, OCT. 13
Harvest Homecoming Business Luncheon: Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Sounds Unlimited Productions Party Tent on the New Albany Riverfront
The show will immediately follow lunch and feature a “Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock & Roll” theme.
SATURDAY, OCT. 14
Harvest Homecoming Care & Bike Show: Registration 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; awards at 3:30 p.m., New Albany Riverfront
Admission for entrants is $15. Open to any type of stock, classic, show or race car, antique vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, any model any year. Please enter at West 10th and Main Street and proceed toward the large Yellow Pavilion. DJ Service by Terry Langford. Dash Plaques for first 200 Entries; $100 given away every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
SUNDAY, OCT. 15
Closing Ceremonies: 4:15 p.m. at the Harvest Homecoming MainSource Stage, State and Market streets
It’s saying goodbye. Head to the Harvest Homecoming Stage for Closing Ceremonies, prizes drawings, awards and announcements.
Fiesta Rides open at 1 p.m. at end of Pearl St. and will have daily hours through Oct. 15.
Harvest Homecoming MainSource Stage is located at State and Market Streets and features entertainment Oct. 12 through Oct, 15
Check www.harvesthomecoming.com for complete hours.
Harvest Homecoming Festival 2017
Oct. 7-15 in New Albany
Harvest Homecoming Mission Statement
Harvest Homecoming is a group of volunteers dedicated to providing a family-oriented festival. It unites the community in a spirit of fellowship and is committed to continuous improvement.
Harvest Homecoming Office
431 Pearl St. New Albany
Open 12 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday