Fife celebrates fall with annual Harvest Festival

Fife’s annual Harvest Festival had all the makings for a perfect day to celebrate fall.

Below partly sunny skies, families enjoyed hay rides, squash bowling, scarecrow-stuffing, steaming corn on the cob slathered in butter, and face painting.

The event kicked off in the morning with a parade that marched from Fife High School, past City Hall and up 54th Avenue to Dacca Park, where vendor booths filled the stalls of the parking lot.

It didn’t take long for families to overrun the site as children dodged between booths, waited in line to get their faces painted, and giggled as they prepared to ride one of two camels on display. A nearby petting zoo was also popular.

As corn juice dripped down 6-year-old Jaden’s chin, his father, Joe Berhorst listed his son’s favorite events from the day. They included squash bowling and sandbags, the Auburn resident said.

“It’s very family-friendly. It’s a nice thing to do,” Berhorst said of the festival.

Saturday marked Berhorst’s second time attending the event. While his son enjoyed the activities, Berhorst joked he came for the free corn served by Fife City Council members.

This is the ninth year the festival has been held, according to the city of Fife’s website. It’s the city’s one big event, said Kurt Reuter, the city’s Parks and Recreation director.

On years when the weather is good, Reuter estimated the event draws between 4,000 and 5,000 people.

Federal Way residents Vera and Pasha Afichuk were visiting with their children for the first time Saturday. They came with friends who live in Fife and had been before.

While they’d been there for less than an hour, their son Jacob, 8, had already experienced his favorite part of the day: camel rides. (His father quietly hinted it was his favorite, too.)

By late afternoon, lines were still long to ride the horse-drawn hay wagon and for face painting. Teenagers ran in groups, fighting for fistfuls of kettle corn, and the entertainment stage was surrounded by people listening to a science on wheels presentation by the Pacific Science Center.

The event was to end in a bang with fireworks shortly before dusk.