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Community plans harvest celebration

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RONAN — The fourth annual Ronan Area Harvest Fest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Ronan Visitors Center on Highway 93 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sponsored by the Ronan Area Chamber of Commerce, the event will include a chili cook-off, a busy farmers' market, scarecrow and straw-bale decorating contest and many kids’ activities, including zucchini races, pumpkin bowling, story time and face painting.

An Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Contest will also take place with pumpkins ranging from 200 to 1,000-plus pounds being officially weighed. There are only two “official” pumpkins weighings in the state. Contact Emmett May at 250-5154 or the web address is: (click on Montana). Attendees may guess the weight of the many locally grown gigantic pumpkins. Judging will take place at 1 p.m. on a certified scale. Photos available. 

The chili cook-off must be set up by 9 a.m.; cooking is from 9 to 12 p.m.; and judging will be held at 12 p.m. by a panel of local chili lovers. Tastings are open to the public for 25 cents per taster cup. Entry fee is $25 per team. Prizes are: first place $100, second place $50, and $25 for third place. For more information, contact Brennin Grainey at 676-4600 or

Vendors for the farmers' market must be set up by 10 a.m., and the market is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a $10 fee per 10-by-10-foot block, and no power is available in the vendor area(s). Contact Roland Godan at 676-5901 or e-mail for more information and registration forms. 

Many kids’ activities will be available, including Ronan’s Famous Zucchini Race. Prizes will be awarded for Fastest Zucchini Racer, Most Creative Zucchini Racer, Largest Racer, Smallest Racer and the Best Dressed Zucchini Racer. Call the Patty or Dennis Winter at 676-4925 for more information. 

Prizes will be awarded for the most creatively decorated scarecrows and straw bales. Scarecrows must be set up at the Harvest Fest by 9 a.m. with judging at 11 a.m. Call Ronna Walchuk at 261-7579, or Ky Bartels at 253-8611 for more information and rules. Round bales will be delivered to your location. Call Ronna or Ky to schedule a delivery. 

Forms, rules and information for the chili cook-off, scarecrows, straw bales, zucchini races, and farmers' market are available online at or can be picked up at the Polson First Interstate Bank, or at the local branches of Valley Bank and Community Bank. They are also available at Lake County Community Development Corporation, and Ronan Power Products and Ronan Flower Mill. For more information call Ronna Walchuck at 406-261-7579.

The fourth annual Harvest Fest is produced by the gracious volunteers of the Ronan Area Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the chili cook-off will help the Ronan Area Chamber continue to strive to strengthen, enhance, and serve the community and its citizens by providing service, forums for communication, and acting as a clearinghouse for information.

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