The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Parading at a past festival. Courtesy photo.

Warner Fall Foliage Festival

When: Friday, Oct. 7, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Downtown Warner (surrounding Warner Town Hall, 5 E. Main St.)
Cost: There is no price of admission to get into the festival, but there is a $5 parking fee at both East Main and West Main streets, about a half mile away from the festivities. A free shuttle bus will be on hand to transport people from the parking lot to the festival. Additional costs may apply for food and raffle items.

Festive fall
Warner Fall Foliage Festival returns for its 69th year

By Matt Ingersoll

 The Warner Fall Foliage Festival returns to its original spot in downtown Warner this year, with midway rides, food and craft vendors, live music and entertainment and a parade helping ring in its 69th year. 

The Columbus Day Weekend tradition kicks off on Friday, Oct. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., and continues on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., before ending with the designated cleanup day on Columbus Day.
Ray Martin, president of the festival’s board of directors, said the event began way back in 1947 when Warner’s town residents wanted to welcome outsiders into the community.
“In the mid-1930s, there were probably six or eight country inns [in New Hampshire] that would get together to promote some of the ski trains that were around here,” Martin said. “They would hire a train to bring up to 1,000 people up to ski in town, and then various organizations provided them with a meal. … These same groups said, ‘Let’s have a fall foliage festival’ in 1947, so [the event] originated from the outgrowth of the Warner ski trains.”
Since then, Martin said, the festival has evolved into a community and volunteer-based event.
“It’s a community effort to put on the festival, and at the end all of the profits are distributed to local nonprofit organizations … so it goes to things like uniforms for our Little League sports teams, it goes to the music park here in town, and once in a while it goes toward the Town of Warner,” he said.
The festivities will begin with a performance by Emma Cook & Questionable Company at the Jim Mitchell Community Park Amphitheater on Friday night, when the midway rides also open.
Oxen pull and woodsmen’s competitions will be hosted at a newly renovated space behind Main Street and the Foothills Restaurant beginning on Saturday.
At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Warner Fall Foliage 5-Mile Road Race will kick off, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. A Kids Fun Run will follow at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, with registration at 9 a.m. in the Warner Post Office parking lot.
A lobster and chicken barbecue will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Other food and craft vendors will be available along the downtown area of Main Street.
“There will be the typical fair food, you know, french fries, cotton candy, fried dough, those types of things,” Martin said, “and then we’ll have a vendor selling some Jamaican jerky beef, and I know one who is coming back this year with an old fashioned peanut roaster.”
At 1 p.m. on Sunday, get ready for The Grand Parade, a longtime festival tradition. The theme of this year’s parade will be “Celebrating Rural Life.” Festival-goers interested in checking out the parade are encouraged to arrive at the festival at least an hour before it kicks off to get ample parking.
“Food vendors will be here and music performances will be going on all day,” Martin said. “Some come in from out of town, though there are a few locals … That part is really growing — we’ve been attracting some decent acts and all kinds of bands.”
Martin said in previous years the festival has offered a cash raffle with cash prizes of $500, $200 and $100. This year those raffle prizes will be combined with booster tickets, which are available for purchase at any time during the festival. Other smaller prizes will be available to win, including gift certificates to several Warner-area restaurants and coffee shops.
“You can buy one [booster] ticket for $5, and you’ll get a shot at the cash and certificate prizes, but then you’ll also get a big goodie basket with all kinds of lesser prizes and samples from local businesses,” Martin said.

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