Mark your calendar to be in Paonia Sept. 27-30 for the 18th annual Mountain Harvest Festival. This is our time to celebrate every local harvest that blesses our town and the river valley beyond.

The festival begins with Harvest of Voices on Thursday at the Blue Sage. Paonia Town Park gets hopping on Friday with the chili cook-off, pie contest and live music, but don't miss the Pub Crawl downtown. Lots of activities on Saturday for all -- yoga, kids' events, festival market, hoola hoop contest, and music. Tour the wineries and organic farms or do a free range ride with the bicycle club. Saturday night features 10 bands in concert at seven venues. Tickets are $25 (in advance). One ticket lets you partake in as much music as you can fit between 7 p.m. and midnight. You will hear a great variety of musical styles from Americana to zydeco. The fun continues on Sunday with the harvest market, farmers' market, kids' activities and the North Fork showcase of local musicians.

The festival celebrates every aspect of creativity -- music, artistic expression, literature and more. The focus is on all things local -- food, wine, beer, juice, art and crafts.

The festival is a major fundraiser for Mountain Harvest Creative, a charitable organization whose mission is to celebrate and serve our communities. Service includes supporting agriculture and the arts, collaborating with other local nonprofits and providing educational opportunities, especially for young people.

Although Paonia is a small town, it packs a punch way beyond its weight class. The Mountain Harvest Festival attracts a lot of visitors, even from out of state, who have discovered our charms, idiosyncrasies and uniqueness. Check out for the list of all festival events and to order tickets online.

For more info, call or 970-618-8032.

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