VINTON — Fall is a favorite time of the year for many people, but Kristie Boyle has taken her love for the season to the next level.

Boyle is the visionary and planner for Vinton’s First Annual Fall Festival starting this Saturday. “Our hope is to get the community involved in these fun activities to keep Vinton exciting and growing.”

She’s been the recreation coordinator with Vinton’s Parks and Recreation Department since January and her mission is to brainstorm and organize special events and activities for the community year-round.

“We had a lot of things for families to do last summer and we thought we could keep it going this fall,” she said.

Festival activities kick off this Saturday evening with Nathan’s Miles Glow Fun Run to be held on the Glow Trail. More than 200 entries have been received and Boyle is expecting at least 250 total by Saturday evening, more runners than what was expected.

“I’ve really been surprised by the numbers,” said Boyle.

Many local businesses have stepped up in support of the event providing funding for runners’ T-shirts, glow-in-the-dark frisbees and help with trail maintenance. A local hair stylist has even donated her time and products to offer glow-in-the-dark berets, clips and perhaps even hair coloring for runners.

Boyle scoped out the events of other towns before coming up with ideas for the Fall Festival.

“We started out thinking it would be a one-day event,” says Boyle, “but later, seeing what Cedar Rapids did with Freedom Festival (a multi-week community celebration) we decided to add more events.”

Next week, the Fall Festival takes a turn towards the scary! Scary to crows anyway, but creative and fun for local merchants. The Scarecrow Contest invites area businesses to register to enter their unique and perhaps, themed version of a scarecrow to grace their front doors during the competition, Friday, Oct. 22 through Saturday, Oct. 30. A base scarecrow, crafted by local farmer and Parks and Rec employee Allen Merchant, will be provided and then the artistically inclined business owners will take it from there.

Local residents and customers will be asked to judge the scarecrows that week and the top three finalists will be awarded prizes. Already, more than 40 businesses have registered to compete.

What to expect? Some have already shown their hands. Edwards Plumbing is leaning toward a scarecrow outfitted with PVC piping and other plumbing materials. Nature’s Corner has a plan to adorn theirs with flowers and greenery. Businesses still have time to register. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Ballots to vote on your favorites will be available online on Facebook, the Parks and Recreation website and at participating merchants.

Fall Festival fun continues through October with the Tailgate and Cornhole Throwdown at Celebration Park on Saturday, Spooktacular Saturday, Oct. 30 including carnival games, pumpkin coloring and a parade of the kids all decked out in their Halloween costumes through downtown.

The fun wraps up Saturday, Nov. 6 with the Fall Fest Finale with a chili cook-off, bonfire and hayrides at Celebration Park.

“There are so many people and so many businesses that have helped Vinton to grow,” says Boyle. “This is our event to help grow the community.”

And so too, Kristie Boyle has found a way to show off her love for her favorite season of the year.

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