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A celebration of autumn's wonders

Reap the bounty of activities offered this weekend at the 20th annual Jackson County Harvest Fair. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-26, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point.

"Our valley is full of creative people who work very hard to produce great things for us to eat, drink and admire," states Jackson County Fair Director Dave Koellermeier in a press release. "The family-friendly Harvest Fair is designed to bring us together at this time of year to enjoy the fruits of their labor and have lots of fun."

The fair's annual highlights include the Championship Grape Stomp, sponsored this year by Del Rio Vineyards & Winery. Teams of two (one stomper and one helper) will compete in preliminaries to be held at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and noon and 2 p.m. Sunday. The final contest will be at 4 p.m. Sunday.

A chili cook-off will be held from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, and a backyard barbecue contest will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Pie-eating contests will follow at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Booths at the fair will offer traditional foods from regional producers, such as fresh vegetables, root vegetables, squash, honey, eggs, nuts and cider. Others will offer baked breads, cakes, cookies and pies, along with fudge and candy. Preserved meats, fish, vegetables, jams, jellies, pie fillings, syrups, pickles, chutneys, salsas and more also will be available.

Other attractions will include hobbies, floriculture, photography exhibits and amateur wine, beer and soft-drink makers, along with stock-dog trials and livestock sales.

Visitors also can look for a catapult to launch pumpkins from 1 to 3 p.m. each day, and Annie the Clown will be performing throughout the event. Other events include draft-horse pulls from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and a calf-and-heifer show at 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Live blues, folk and country music will be presented by Rogue Valley-based groups each day. Saturday's lineup will begin at 10:45 a.m. with Dandelion Jo, Hired Hands, Dan Daniella and Oregon Rain and Jason Johnston and the Michael Boren Band. Sunday, the Rhythm Kings will kick off the tunes at 10:45 a.m., followed by the Karen Lovely Band, Robbie DaCosta Trio and the Rogue Suspects.

Admission to the fair is $6, free for ages 11 and younger.

A family (up to four people) can receive free admission to the fair on Saturday by entering a carved pumpkin in the Family Pumpkin Carving Contest. Carved pumpkins must be dropped off at the south deck of Compton Arena by 11 a.m. The winner will be announced at 4 p.m. and will receive a pass to the Family Fun Center.

Make your favorite apple pie and receive free admission on Sunday. Bring the pie and a recipe card to Compton Arena before 1 p.m. The winner will be announced at 2 p.m. and receive a championship ribbon.

See www.jcfairgrounds.com for more information.

A celebration of autumn's wonders