There were bagpipes, pumpkins and plenty of visitors Saturday as the Rock Island community embraced the season with a rousing Fall Fest.
It was a perfect day for people to hop from store to store while touring the area on foot. Bagpipes and Celtic music from the band Jacobites by Name provided unique flair from the traditional fall festival fare.
Mill Rock Farms has been open about a year across from Rock Island Market. The business, which specializes in organic, farm-to-table items grown on its property, offered white pumpkins to decorate.
“This is the busiest I’ve ever seen it,” said Quentin Miller, 13. He helps his parents, Scott and Leslie Miller, operate Mill Rock Farms.
Fresh eggs were available from the Mill Rock Farms chickens. Quentin explained they have laying hens and also raise chickens for meat.
“We’ve never had a chicken lay two eggs in a day,” said Quentin. “We’re going to have pigs and goats soon and lamb meat for sale.”
Scott said as a general rule of thumb, 70% to 75% of a chicken flock will lay one egg during the day. He said Mill Rock Farms will have turkeys available for Thanksgiving.
As for general traffic in the Rock Island area, Leslie said most visitors are from out of town.
“It’s popular for people staying here to make a loop,” she said. “They’ll visit our state park and then they’ll visit Cummins Falls and Fall Creek Falls.”
On the other side of Rock Island Market, Jase Bouldin was busy talking to customers at his booth, the Grateful Welder.
“It’s been nonstop all day long,” said Jase, whose father Bino owned and operated the market for decades. “I try to make things nobody else is making. It’s some woodworking stuff and some fire pits and fire pokers. I like to do a lot of custom jobs and custom countertops. I’ll go into a home, measure the space, and build something for that spot.”
Shops were crawling with visitors, even outside the tradition Rock Island business district. At Rock Island Treasures, which is located in the old Levi building in Campaign, there was a car show and classic rock band in conjunction with the festival.
It was all part of a sprawling event which attracted people throughout the day.
“Rock Island Fall Fest was a rousing success,” said Beth Campbell, one of the organizers. “The shops were busy, the weather was perfect and it was interesting to hear folks comment that they had never been to Rock Island but will definitely be back.”
Campbell said plans are already being formulated for a fall festival next year. As for upcoming activities, on Nov. 12-13 all the shops of Rock Island will have Christmas Open House.
“It’s a wonderful reason to visit Rock Island again,” said Campbell.