IL Fall Fest: ‘All-around awesome’

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Festival draws crowds

By Julie Graham

Among the car show, vendor booths, food trucks, corn hole, fun zones, chili cook off and hay bales, crowds packed the Indian Land Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Known as the Panhandle’s biggest annual event, the festival lived up to its description in its 12th year, ushering in thousands at its new location on the campus of the Indian Land schools.
“It was an exciting day and a perfect example of what makes Indian Land such a great place,” festival chairman Mike Neese said.
A new group of organizers, led by Neese, took over planning this year’s festival from the Indian Land Rotary Club. The group’s mission was to bring together Lancaster County’s residents, businesses, organizations and churches.
“It’s all-around awesome,” said Kristine Hyde, an Indian Land resident who was enjoying the entertainment, row after row of vendors and festival food. “It’s flippin’ huge. I wasn’t expecting all this. There are so many different vendors and it smells so good.”
Hyde was making her way toward the cotton candy, a favorite treat of her daughter’s, after checking out a LuLaRoe clothing booth. She was also looking forward to a performance by the Indian Land Middle School dance team.
The day brought “chamber weather,” sunny with mild fall temperatures for optimal outdoor activity, said Dean Faile, president of Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce.
“It has turned out to be one of the most terrific gatherings, I think, in the region,” said Faile, who promoted county businesses from the chamber booth. “It’s great to see the whole county pull together for this festival.”
Booth space filled quickly. More than 250 businesses and arts and craft vendors filled the fields of the school campus. From car dealerships and dentists to vacation planners and health clubs, the festival had booth after booth with products and information relevant to Lancaster County residents.
Gabe Gregory, branch manager of Indian Land’s Edward Jones, was giving away pens, water and information on personal finances. He was pleased with the traffic through his booth and complimented the festival organizers.
“There’s a crowd everywhere you look,” he said. “That’s a sign of true success.”
Fifty arts and craft vendors – from jewelers and sign makers to potters and soap makers – were sprinkled throughout.
Melissa Yarbrough crafts handmade hair bows in all sizes and shapes. The Indian Land woman sold various colors, patterns and themes, including Disney, NFL teams and holidays, from her colorful Three Beauties Bowtique booth. There was always someone browsing.
“This is amazing,” Yarbrough said.
In the farm zone, the petting zoo was a hit with chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats and month-old Jersey calves. Three-year-old Addison Kocon of Indian Land enjoyed a pony ride on Coconut, one of the residents of His Barn. The Indian Land farm, owned by Jillian Butela, brought five ponies to the festival.
“We wanted to support Indian Land, and I was excited this was at the school,” said Kristen Kocon, while her daughter smiled and waved from the child-sized saddle. “She loves horses, so this is great.”
Roger Berrey and Russ Whitman, friends from Sun City Carolina Lakes, were happy to stay at the Indian Land VFW’s Honor Our Heroes car show among the 50 cars on display. They admired a 1955 Chevy Bel Air for its originality.
“People put a lot of time and effort into these cars,” said Whitman, who drives a 2015 Dodge Charger. “When you come from that era and you had that car, it’s nostalgic for me.”
After enjoying the chili contest, especially a variety that was made with mostly vegetables, Oliver Green held his son for face painting at the NAHS booth. Karter, 2, picked a Batman face.
Green’s daughter’s cheerleading performance originally brought him to the festival. He was pleasantly surprised with all the activities.
“I think it’s a great turnout,” he said. “There are nice things for the kids to do.”  
Winner, winner chicken dinner
The chili cook-off was wrapped into one open category of competition.
“We had a great time with the cook-off today, and I think all those who participated enjoyed having many Indian Land neighbors taste their chili,” said Tony Carnes, chili cook-off chairman.
The judges picked the winners as:
• 1st place and People’s Choice Award – Amanda Goldberg from Pleasant Farms
• 2nd place – Chef Greg Blair from the Tavern at the Lakes at the Sun City golf course
• 3rd place – Mark Carnes
ILFF golf winners shoot 52
The winners of the festival’s 18-hole captain’s choice golf tournament Friday, Oct. 27, at Carolina Lakes Golf Club at Sun City shot a 52. Players were Mark Warrin, Paul Jaeger, Tim Hallman and Richard Warrin.
“We had a successful tournament with a good number of golfers of all skill levels with the perfect weather for golf,” said Adam Leach, the festival’s golf tournament chairman and a local Edward Jones financial adviser.