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Friday, November 18, 2011

Locals Fall for Saugatuck Nursery Harvest Fest

Locals Fall for Saugatuck 
Nursery Harvest Fest
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)

Westport, CT – As the leaves fell and swirled about the great lawn, locals fell for Saugatuck Nursery’s Harvest Fest, darting from activity to activity Saturday.

Held on the hillside in front of Saugatuck Congregational Church at 245 Post Road East, the Fest offered everything from pony rides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making and pin bowling, to a beanbag toss, facepainting, duct tape bracelets and even seeking a needle in a haystack. Coordinators were all volunteers and 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales will help fund operations of the 43-year-old school.

The funds come just in time as the school has just been licensed to accommodate 48 students, up from 32, at any given time, according to Saugatuck Nursery’s Director Ellen DeHuff. “We added Two’s for the first time in our history, so now we serve children ages 2 to 5,” she said.

In addition to school staff and parent volunteers, the Fest was being run by Staples High School students. One student onsite was Myelle Lansat, a Staples 10th grader, who was giving kids Halloween makeovers. “I’m doing this for my Child Development class,” she said, spray painting four-year-old Claire Evans’ hair.

Looking on while her children Zoe, 5, and Jamie, 8, collaborated in making a scarecrow from old clothing and straw, Westporter Jill Mann said, “We go to church here, heard about the Fest and thought it would be a fantastic fall activity. The scarecrows make instant, low-effort Halloween decorations.”

Over at the inflatable Wizard’s Castle, two-year-old Hunter Menoni came shooting down a yellow slide, much to the delight of his mother Brooke. “We saw the signs and thought this would be fun to bring the kids to,” she said. “We loved the pony ride best.”

Sprinting down the stretch to her due date, with just four weeks left, Harini Baddevolu of Norwalk preferred to take a little breather on the church steps while her husband Sreekanth and three-year-old son Siddanth were pulled around on a flatbed trailer behind a tractor. “We were going to Thali and saw the Fest,” Harini said. “Siddanth loved the pony ride and now the hay ride.”

Judging from the boy’s broad grin as he assumed the driver’s seat of the tractor and placed his hands on the large steering wheel, his parents had made the right destination decision for the afternoon.

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