Hilton Fall Festival brings family fun Oct. 13

By: Jeremy Selweski | Woodward Talk | Published October 9, 2012

 The 31st annual Hilton Fall Festival will be held in Ferndale Oct. 13. Pictured, Claudia Danziger, 3, of Wyandotte, plays the Catch a Ghost game at last year’s event.

The 31st annual Hilton Fall Festival will be held in Ferndale Oct. 13. Pictured, Claudia Danziger, 3, of Wyandotte, plays the Catch a Ghost game at last year’s event.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

It’s time once again for hayrides, pumpkins and apple cider right in the heart of an urban area as the 31st annual Hilton Fall Festival returns to Ferndale.

The popular family event, which is presented each year by the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ferndale Recreation Department, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13. All the fun will take place along Hilton Road, between Drayton Avenue and Mapledale Street.

“We want to bring the cider mill experience to Ferndale, and we also want to provide an event that’s affordable for families, especially those that have young kids,” said Jennifer Roosenberg, executive director of the Ferndale Chamber. “It’s important that people can bring their whole family down here without emptying their wallet.”

Tickets for the individual festival activities range from $1 to $2 each. However, for just $5, guests can purchase all-inclusive wristbands that will give them unlimited access all day long.

As Recreation Director Jill Manchik explained, “The wristbands are the best deal, but if you have kids who are only interested in a few different activities, then you don’t have to pay for everything by buying wristbands. We want to give people more options, because this is meant to be an affordable day of great activities for the whole family.”

Before the festival officially begins, there will be a 5k race and fundraiser at 8 a.m. for Angel Kisses, a nonprofit organization that provides bereavement care for families that have experienced pregnancy loss. The core activities will then kick off at 10 a.m. with the opening of the hayrides, carnival games, arts and crafts fair, pumpkin painting, inflatable bouncers, live entertainment, and food and beverage sales along Hilton.

Later, a rock climbing wall will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with pony rides from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., a pet costume contest from 1-2 p.m., and a costume contest for kids and adults from 2-3 p.m. There will also be an outdoor screening of the movie “Kung Fu Panda 2” at 3 p.m.

According to Roosenberg, organizers of the Hilton Fall Festival deliberately set out to provide more activities this year that are appropriate for people of all ages.

“We had gotten some complaints in the past that most of our events were geared toward kids ages 8 and under,” she said, “so we wanted to take some steps to remedy that. This time we will have activities like gladiator jousting, pedal-cart races, miniature golf and a bungee game. I think those new events will really enhance this festival.”

One activity that will be downplayed a little bit this year, however, will be the trick-or-treating offered at businesses along Hilton.

“In previous years, it was very difficult for us to do trick-or-treating because most Hilton businesses are closed on Saturdays,” Roosenberg said. “There will still be plenty of candy available for kids, but most of it can be won by playing the different carnival games.”

Manchik pointed out that it requires a real team effort to put on the festival each year. In addition to chamber and recreation staff, the event features about 100 local volunteers who help out with everything from organizing and planning, to setup and teardown, to running the carnival games to selling wristbands and tickets.

“Our volunteers play a very important role in making this event happen,” she said, “and we certainly couldn’t do it without them.”

All this hard work adds up to a hometown festival that embraces the fall season with open arms. “I really love this entire event,” Manchik said. “It’s all about spending time with your family, friends and neighbors, meeting new people, and getting together to have fun outdoors. These are activities that you don’t get to do every day in a city like Ferndale, so people around here really enjoy it.”

For more information on the 2012 Hilton Fall Festival, visit www.hiltonfallfest.com or call (248) 542-2160 or (248) 544-6767.