IL Fall Festival organizers plan music, food and fun

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By Julie Graham

With two music stages, a variety of food trucks and a later evening end time, organizers of the Indian Land Fall Festival are making changes to the long-standing Panhandle event to make it a full day of activity.
The Oct. 28 event has been moved to the Indian Land school campus from the CrossRidge Center in an effort to include five zones of activities, as well as two entertainment stages and the car show.
There is ample parking for festival-goers, eliminating shuttling, and well-lighted areas for the festival to run into the evening. By popular demand, there will be a corn hole tournament, and the chili cook-off is back after last year’s hiatus.
“Great festivals have music, food and fun,” said Mike Neese, festival chairman. “We made some changes this year to give people a reason to stay for awhile.”
Neese spoke to more than 100 community leaders and business owners at the festival kickoff hosted by Pleasant Hill Methodist Church on Thursday night, Aug. 31.
After more than a decade run by the Indian Land Rotary Club, the festival is now its own nonprofit with new leadership and a mission to bring Indian Land and Lancaster County together.
The new organizers are planning for at least 15,000 in attendance, the record in past years, and 1,000 volunteers and vendors. The call to make the festival bigger and longer has been well received by the community, Neese said.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the car show starting at 9 a.m. in the high school parking lot.
The Hinson Girls, the award-winning bluegrass sisters from Van Wyck, are booked to perform on the main stage. Neese said he is finalizing the other headliners.
Food trucks are expected to be diverse, with tastes ranging from tacos and barbecue to Moroccan and Vietnamese foods.
The chili cook-off is back this year, with three levels of competition.
“We didn’t have it last year and we heard about it,” Neese said. “People wanted to bring that chili cook-off back.”
Five zones of activity – including dedicated areas for kids, sports, farm, faith and community – will greet guests.
Artists Rupan Varma and Jaya Vegesna are friends and co-vendors who attended the networking to get more information on the Indian Land Fall Festival. Both artists live in nearby Ballantyne.
“It’s a great place to show and promote my art,” said Varma, a professional painter and sketcher. Her work pops with color and detail. Vegesna does paper quilling,  intricate work created with narrow strips of paper.
Sampling the food provided by The Southern Olive, festival vendor Michelle deBeus spoke about her new art education business, Abrakadoodle.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of the community, as well as get my name out,” she said.
The Indian Land resident attended last year’s festival and enjoyed the music, food and information she gathered.
For more information, visit the festival website at www.indianlandfallfest.com.