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Plan ahead for these Harvest Festival events

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File photo by Tamie Meck The ninth annual Grape Stomp is one of the many events planned for this year's Mountain Harvest Festival. Some events require a little planning, so don't miss your opportunity to participate.

The 16th annual Mountain Harvest Festival, winner of the 2016 Governor's Award for Downtown Excellence, officially begins Sept. 22, but those planning to participate in some of the myriad events that coincide with the celebration may need to plan ahead.

"Paint Paonia," a plein air painting competition where painters have a 12-hour period to capture a piece of Paonia within a two-mile radius of the Blue Sage Center for the Arts, will be held Saturday, Sept. 17 only. The show featuring those works opens Sept. 22 in conjunction with the Harvest of Voices literary event. A total of $600 in prizes, donated by the Kampe Foundation, will be awarded. Visitors can vote for the "People's Choice" award, and judges will select the first-, second- and third-place paintings. For details, call 527-7243 or visit the Blue Sage at 226 Grand Avenue.

Registration for the ninth annual Grape Stomp is Sept. 21. Sponsored by the Black Bridge Winery and Orchard Valley Farms, the competition will be held Sept. 24 and benefits Solar Energy International's K-12 Solar in Schools program and the Paonia Public Library Foundation. Teams of three or four will have a limited time to stomp 20 pounds of grapes in a wine barrel. Prizes include "Most Juice Collected" and the "Best Lucy Look-Alike" costume contest in honor of the grape-stomping scene from the "I Love Lucy" show. Judges will give preference to the team that gives them the most bribes. The $75 registration fee is tax-deductible. Contact Mary at 527-7657 or email mary@solarenergy.org to register.

Is the "Great Pumpkin" growing in your pumpkin patch? If so, consider entering it in the giant pumpkin contest, sponsored by Paonia Farm and Home Supply. Pumpkin weigh-in happens from 3-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at Paonia Town Park, with numerous prizes at stake, including kids' awards for biggest pumpkin and funniest shape.

Reservations are required for the farm-to-table feast on Sept. 22 at The Living Farm Cafe. Enjoy locally-sourced dishes made without chemicals or other additives. Call the cafe at 527-3779 for reservations.

Plan ahead if you want to enter the Great Chili Cook-off and I Love Pie contests. Pies are due at Town Park by 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, with five categories to choose from. Slices of pie will be available for donation beginning at 5 p.m.

Now in its 17th year, the chili cook-off begins following pie judging. It also offers five categories, with $650 in prizes up for grabs. Pre-registration is required. Entry fee is $10 for those who register by Friday, Sept. 16; or $25 to register between Sept. 17 and 22. Forms are available at Paonia Farm and Home Supply.

The fourth annual MHV vegan potluck luncheon happens Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Town Park pavilion. Local, organic ingredients are encouraged; please list ingredients for those with food sensitivities or restrictions.

Stone Cottage Cellars will host the second Winemakers Dinner from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. Reservations for the four-course meal (and a delicious local fruit dessert) can be viewed at www.stonecottage

cellars.com/events/ and reservations can be made by calling 527-3444 or emailing info@stonecottagecellars.com.

For a full schedule and event details, visit mountainharvestfestival.org.

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North Fork
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Mountain Harvest Festival, Paonia
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