Harvest Homecoming Inc.
Themed floats glided down Main Street in New Albany on Oct. 1 as the beginning of the 49th annual Harvest Homecoming Festival kicked off at noon at New Albany High School.
A Crimson barn decorated with the Indiana University logo made its way through the parade route representing IU Southeast.
Mums, pumpkins and even a live chicken were on display upon one of the three IUS floats to match the Classical Harvest theme of this year’s Harvest Homecoming Festival.
The IU Southeast Theatre Department dressed in clothing to match the American Gothic era to match the Classical Harvest theme as they rode and walked alongside the float.
This years floats were all modeled after old fashioned farming along with the Indiana University Logo.
Wes Seiderman, communications and secondary education junior, enjoyed his experience as he participated in this year’s homecoming parade for the first time.
“My favorite experience was probably seeing all of the smiling faces in the crowd and on the kids especially,” Seiderman said.
IUS students, athletes, staff and even Chancellor Ray Wallace were in attendance as they helped spread the fall cheer as the parade made its way from New Albany High School to the corner of Bank and Elm Streets.
IU Southeast had three floats in this year’s parade all modeled after the Classical Harvest theme.
The IUS floats took home two awards: first place in commercial units and second place in theme.
Polly Niemeier, member of the Harvest Homecoming Committee, said the main attraction during the festival is the booth days.
A wide range of booths were offered during the booth days on Oct. 6 through Oct. 9.
Food booths offered all types of food ranging from pasta, chicken and dumplings, corn on the cob, turkey legs and pumpkin ice cream. No matter what food tickles the taste buds, there was an option that anyone would enjoy.
Craft booths were also among over 100 booths that lined the streets. These booths included items like homemade jewelry to clothing, face paint to wine.
Nicole Leap, occupational health and safety sophomore, went to the booth days for the first time this year alongside her new friends at IUS. Even though she is not from the area, she said she felt very much at home due to the family atmosphere.
“I’m obsessed with LuLaRoe, so that was my favorite booth,” Leap said. “But I would highly recommend the apple dumplings to anyone attending the event.”
Local musical groups provided Harvest goers some family friendly entertainment on the riverfront. On Friday and Saturday nights local artist sang crowd favorites and rocked along to rock classics and new pop sensations.
On Friday night, Oct. 7, the New Albany Riverstage Ampitheatre hosted the musical groups Southern Sirens and Tony and the Tan Lines.
The Mad Taxpayers opened the musical events Saturday night. The band is based out of Louisville and was created by lead band members Shawn Norron and Dave Pierce twenty years ago.
The Mad Taxpayers play song collections from the classical rock era. Some popular tunes played were covers of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
The Juice Box Heroes were the main attraction of the night and followed The Mad Taxpayers.
The Juice Box Heroes are a band from Jeffersonville formed by Daniel Farmer, Dexter Neeld, Kyle Reagan, Brad Rajchel and Jordan Rajchel.
The band recently added new vocalist Sydney Magers to complete their family band.
Many in the crowd sang along with the band to song selections like RUN-DMC’s famous “It’s Tricky” to Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk.”
Carnival rides, like the ferris wheel and the paratrooper, filled the area next to the riverfront for those brave enough to test new heights.
Many Harvest goers were seen carrying around large stuffed animals and goldfish that were given away as prizes for winning games such as ring toss, basketball and darts.
Polly Niemeier of the Harvest Homecoming committee estimated about 600,000 people were in attendance throughout the nine-day festival.