Take a healthy walk into autumn with Harvest Fest

Published 10:15 am Friday, September 16, 2016

Several Austin businesses are helping area families embrace the fall season with a slate of healthy, family-friendly activities.

Mower Refreshed is hosting its first free downtown Harvest Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Austin Municipal Pool parking lot along Austin Mill Pond.

Festivities will kickoff a bit early at 9 a.m. with the third annual Mower Refreshed 5K Run/Walk, an event intended to engage the community in healthy activity before the holiday season and also to raise money for local food shelves.

Email newsletter signup

Registration will be from 8 to 8:30 a.m. at the YMCA.

After the 5K walk/run, Harvest Fest’s multitude of different activities will get started at the Mill Pond parking lot.

This event formed through the work of more than 60 local businesses and organizations, and Belles & Beaus Bridal & Formal Wear owner Marie Fryer who helped form the event was pleased so many businesses jumped on board.

“I wanted to figure out a way help out and everyone seemed to get on board with this idea, it was truly amazing,” Fryer said. “Mayo [Clinic] Health System, the YMCA the Cedar River Watershed [District] and Hy-Vee jumped on board with enthusiasm and it has just continued to grow.”

Some of the activities going on throughout the day will be, people of all ages are invited to first visit the registration booth at the city pool’s parking lot to pick up a Harvest Passport. The passport will guide people to several booths and businesses for healthy activities, such as canoeing, canning foods, artwork, interactive games and more.

Other stops will be at downtown businesses, such as the Spam Museum, the Austin ArtWorks Center and the Austin Public Library. Hy-Vee will have a food booth, and the YMCA of Austin’s bounce house will be in the park next to the pool.

The Cedar River Watershed District will have a booth along the river to provide free Mower Refreshed bags for participants to use during the event along with Cedar River State Water Trail maps and coloring sheets showing a Mill Pond fishing pier scene.

The more passport stops participants make, the more chances they’ll will have to win prizes, including a grand prize of $500 to be used at the Austin YMCA or Rydjor Bike. People attending are encouraged to bring a canned food items to donate to the Salvation Army food shelf. People who do bring canned goods will increase a participant’s chances to win prizes.

Attendees can also increase their chances of winning prizes by posting pictures on social media with #MowerHealthy.