Winchester to kick off fall season with festival

Winchester Herald-Chronicle
Courtney Stachel, Staff Writer
September 12, 2014

With the beginning of autumn crispness in the air, the City of Winchester is gearing up to give area residents an entertainment avenue to welcome the change of seasons.

For the past four years, the city has held it’s annual Taste of Autumn Fall Festival, which has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the downtown Winchester Square.

The Winchester Downtown Program Corp., which focuses on promoting the city’s historic downtown area with on objective to showcase its historic charm, recently held a meeting with the national and state Main Street Community Organization and one of the recommendations to bring more people to the downtown area was to have more entertaining events.

The exciting family fun event will feature plenty of contests and activities for all ages.

Events kick off with a chili cook-off at 10 a.m. The fee to enter the cook-off is $25. Anyone wanting to try out all the chili entries for the People’s Choice Award category may do so for a $5 tasting fee.

Spaces are still available for this year’s chili cook-off and there are cash prizes for first, second and third places, in addition to bragging rights and a big trophy.

The Square will be shut down through the events duration to accommodate a cornhole tournament, car show and other events.

Jerry Scharber, the corporation’s executive director, said that there are some components of the festival that are the same as previous years and some that have changed, simply to make the entertainment lineup all the more interesting.

“This is the first year that we are a Main Street Community,” Scharber said. “We want to bring people to the Square and the shops that are in downtown.

“All of the proceeds from the festival every year go back into the WDPC and the festivities that we incorporate into downtown.”

Scharber said last year’s festival attracted about 300 chili connoisseurs to the cookoff.

The Taste of Autumn, as well, netted the corporation about $2,500 last year to go to other events the committee had planned.

“We want everyone to come to the Square and have a good time,” Scharber said.

Although some events like the dog show will not be at these years’ events, Scharber said it will be a great time for the family and there are plenty of things to do.

The corporation is a nonprofit entity whose mission is to revitalize the Winchester Square.

Those who have visited the area recently have seen transformation in streetscape and the construction to the city’s historical buildings, as well as the new businesses that have located there.