Eastpointe Harvest Festival returns for seventh year

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 9, 2013

 Laniyah Phillips rides for the first time during the 2011 Harvest Festival in Eastpointe. The 2013 festival is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 19 at the East Brooke Commons at Nine Mile and Gratiot.

Laniyah Phillips rides for the first time during the 2011 Harvest Festival in Eastpointe. The 2013 festival is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 19 at the East Brooke Commons at Nine Mile and Gratiot.

File photo by Sara Kandel

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EASTPOINTE — The East Brooke Commons will be hosting the annual harvest festival from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 19.

According to Randy Lewis, Eastpointe Lions Club member and one of the festival’s lead organizers, the harvest festival does not have any major changes from previous years, but he still expects it to be a good time for attendees.

“The first 300 children get a free bag of candy. We’ll have the pony rides, the petting farm; we also have some small-children-type amusement rides,” Lewis said. “There will be pumpkin painting, and they can purchase pumpkins. We’ll have larger ones and smaller ones the kids can take. We will have tables set up for that, and there will be face-painting and characters dressed up going around during the festival.”

He said something new last year that should be returning is the optical examination camera, which is able to take a photo of children’s eyes and inspect them for deformities or issues they may deal with in the future.

There will also be information available on child identification programs, and a local Boy Scout troop should be there, Lewis said. Food and drinks, such as cider and doughnuts, will also be sold at a low cost.

Lewis said the festival originally developed out of a “full-blown festival” the Lions Club organized at Kennedy Park. Poor weather prevented them from setting up the petting zoo and pony rides that the organizers wanted.

After hearing that East Brooke Commons owner Michael Curis was interested in hosting them, the petting zoo and pony rides were moved to the fall and became the center of a new festival, Lewis said.

Eastpointe Lions Club Vice President Sonny Eplin said that the club does not try to make money from the festival; they fund it themselves and use outside donations, attempting to break even.

“This is just something to give back to the kids in the community,” Eplin said. “It’s not necessarily a fundraiser, but it’s just a fun thing.”

For Lewis, seeing the looks on kids’ faces when they encounter animals they have never seen before at the petting zoo is one of the best parts of the festival.

“There’s just so many of these children that have never been exposed to the petting farm animals, or have never ridden a horse or pony,” he said. “So it’s a wonderful feeling being there, seeing the look in their eyes.”

Entrance into the festival is free, Lewis said, and the club has tried to keep prices low on individual attractions. Pony rides are $3 each or $5 for two rides, animal food is 50 cents, cider is $1, doughnuts and cupcakes cost 75 cents, pumpkins cost $1-$5, and a trip to “bunny city” is $1.

East Brooke Commons is found at the corner of Nine Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue.

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