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Early Harvest Festivals

The first Harvest Festival was held in 1904 and drew crowds estimated at 3,000 each of the two days. Each year the affair became a little bigger, until the early 1930's, when depression conditions put sort of a crimp on things. The annual affair continued, however, until 1941, and was stopped the next year by the war. The Harvest Festivals has had several resurgents and failings since due to interest or lack there of by the residents of the village.

From the news files we find this report of the Festival. On Thursday morning festivities opened with a  concert by the Nashville Cornet band and then came sporting events and contests. A. Seymour and Ray Pennock won first and second in the boy's foot race. In the 100-yard dash Sherman Swift took first, with Orville O. Mater second. Victor Niles won the barrel race, with Ray Pennock taking second. Seth Graham, Nashville's Marathon runner, was an easy winner in the mile race. Next came a ladies wood-sawing contest, which was won by Mrs. Frank McPeck of Stony Point. Free vaudeville and trapeze acts on the big platform in the center of Main street climaxed the forenoon's events.

After dinner came the big street parade, with 27 floats, followed by a baseball game between Vermontville and Bellevue town teams. John Eubank, former star pitcher for Detroit was on the mound for Bellevue and won 8-7.

After the ball game Captain S. M. Fowler's Elk's Drill Team of Battle Creek gave an exhibition. Then there was a balloon ascension, more free acts, and in the evening band concerts and fireworks. Grand climax was a big dance.

Friday's schedule was pretty much a repetition for new acts and a big tug-of-war from the north and south sides of the Thornapple River. The north siders, captained by Charles Feighner, won. There was a second parade and the winning floats were selected by judges from Battle Creek. Then more thrilling attractions, including band concerts, more fireworks, free moving pictures and another big dance. All in all, commented News Editor Feighner, "It was a very strenuous but very satisfying week. Inasmuch as the Festival is looked forward to as an annual affair and tends to bring former residents back to their old home, the brightest and most hospitable little town in Michigan, let us continue the good work. It means hard work but we believe it is worth it."