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Church makes hay at fall festival

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Snowfall fails to curtail fund-raising event at Aspen Ridge

By Rochelle Smolinski

Despite a preview of winter the day before, Aspen Ridge Church in Marshdale staged a successful Hay Day fall festival on Saturday. 

The four-hour gathering at the church featured everything from local food and crafts to a pumpkin patch, hayrides and animal feedings, with free hot cider and chili to chase the chill.

Vendors that registered with Hay Day were offered the choice to donate a portion of proceeds to IdRaHaJe (I’d Rather Have Jesus), a nonprofit Christian camp for kids ages 6 to 17. Charity boxes also lined the tables around the church encouraging attendees to donate to the camp.

Debbie Stewart, organizer of Hay Day and co-owner of Tailgater Toby BBQ Cafe, called on the Mothers of Preschoolers group, many of whom were involved with crafts, to offer their wares at the festival.

“They’ve done the fall event for a couple years and had maybe five to six vendors; this year we had closer to 40,” Stewart said. “It’s the pastors’ idea; they just asked me to go gung-ho with it. I said, ‘Let’s try to make it like a farmers market.’ ”

Stewart said the weather had been cause for concern after a dusting of snow blanketed the mountain area overnight, but the afternoon turned into a beautiful fall day that drew hundreds to the event.

“We just wanted the community to have a fall festival they don’t have to drive down the hill for,” Stewart said.

Vendors sold purses, children’s handmade boutique items, jewelry, and baked goods around the ring of tables behind the church.

Sarah Dosch, artist and owner of Spruce Canyon Studios and an interior designer for 26 years, heard about the event while at the Bergen Park farmers market. Dosch and her mother shared a booth to sell fleece scarves, dog coats, earrings, custom hair wraps, and knitted hats and sweaters. The first item Dosch sold was a custom feathered hair wrap.

“So far, so good,” Dosch said when asked about the Hay Day market. “It’s a good turnout. (The event) encouraged me to get with the program here.”

While parents perused arts and crafts, children divvied up their time among face painting, the bounce house and hayrides around the property.

Chris McGinness, a self-employed cabinet and furniture maker and a nine-year resident of Evergreen, attended the festival with his family.

“It’s been fun,” McGinness said. “There’s a lot of people here; everyone seems to be out and enjoying the day outside.”

The McGinness family attend Aspen Ridge and were glad to be part of their church’s festivities.

Stewart said she was pleased so many church members supported the event.

“A lot of members of the church showed up to pitch in,” Dosch said. “We want people in the community to get involved and know about our church and that we’re a family community.”

Aspen Ridge Church offers a Saturday worship service at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday service at 10:30 a.m.