Ronan community decorates, cooks, gathers for 9th annual event
RONAN – Creatively decorated round bales, including Frankenstein, a bunny, a hamburger and a shop vac to name a few, sprang up all around town in the past few weeks as the Ronan community geared up for it’s ninth annual Harvest Fest.
The round bale decorating contest has become an increasingly popular part of the annual event with entries springing up several miles north and south of the City of Ronan.
This year’s Harvest Fest, celebrated last Saturday under welcome blue skies, included a petting zoo, crafts, food, and the traditional pumpkin bowling in time for fall.
“It’s ideal weather today, a bit cooler but still nice out, perfect for the animals,” said Saddle Mountain 4H Club Leader Diana Matkovich.
Dutch Oven Cook Off contestants set up under several tents putting together various recipes. They cooked up everything from beans to cake in cast iron Dutch ovens. Winners of the contests in each category received aprons.
“This is a fun baking contest for the community,” Eric Hall said looking over the main dish his family put together. The Hall family won the Main Entrée contest with their hard cider chicken, topped with pearl onions and chanterelle mushrooms. It was finished with crème fresh and served with baked apples.
“This is a dish we like to make as a family all the time,” he said. “We make it when we are camping, too.”
The Hill Family made Dutch oven beans and potatoes and a pineapple upside down cake among other things. Warren Hill said his wife and six kids helped with the cooking. “It’s a family effort,” he said. The Hill Family won the Overall Presentation contest.
In other contest categories, the Mission Heating and Air team with Chuck Thuemler won for Best Beans. Coral Lockwood won for Best Dessert.
The Mission Valley FFA students from Ronan were selling fresh ears of corn at their stand to raise money for different projects. The corn came from teacher Ed Larson’s corn patch.
“Our teacher donated the corn and we went out and picked it,” said Tynneal Flammond, 14. She said the FFA students picked several large coolers full of corn, and within a few hours, they were sold out.
Saddle Mountain 4H Club members set up their 4H Petting Zoo for people to interact with animals including goats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, turkeys and a miniature horse.
“We like the kids to have exposure to animals and pets, and we hope this makes them want to get involved with 4H” said Courtney Snyder, 17. Her Holland lop bunny named Wyatt was a hit with the younger kids.
Matkovich said Lake County has about 10 clubs and if anyone wants join a club they should contact the Lake County Extension Office.
“The first week in October is National 4H Week, and we’d love to have new members,” she said.
The Trail of Bales voting booth was full of people looking at pictures of the bales decorated all around town.
“It was really hard to pick the best one,” said Alex Lanes of Pablo. “There was a lot of good ones to pick from.”
Winner of the 2017 Harvest Fest hay bale competition: Salish & Kootenai Housing Authority took first place with their Smokey Bear and firefighters display; second place went to Quicksilver Express for their giant cow; and Lynn’s Drive-In took third place with King Kong. Sixty-three groups participated in this year’s contest, using more than 100 bales., making it the biggest contest so far. Everyone was encouraged to put their vote into the ballot box during the Harvest Fest. Winners received trophies after the votes were counted.