Wilton Harvest Festival offered autumn goodies

WILTON – The skies were gray and the air was a little raw, but a lot of people strolled along Main Street anyway, enjoying the offerings of the annual Harvest Festival.

While the farm animals are always a big hit, the star of this year’s show turned out to be too shy to come out of his trailer, accepting the oohs and ahhs while generally peeking over a sheep.

Gus is a 2-month-old, mostly tan miniature donkey, small enough to hide behind the sheep.

“His mother wouldn’t get into the trailer,” said owner Karen Grybko, of Lyndeborough, “and he came without her, and now he’s feeling separation anxiety.”

Nearby, several cages of bunnies and unusual chickens also drew the attention of the smallest visitors.

Their parents were more interested in an exotic Chinese silky, a small bird covered with fluffy brown feathers, a topknot and “leggings.”

The owner of the chickens said she was interested in preserving various rare breeds.

There was also a large white turkey and a cage of doves.

The market set up in Lot 48 offered a variety of wares. Fall decorations included gourds and pumpkins, Chinese lanterns and silver dollar plants. Another booth offered fresh produce, while others had a selection of jewelry and gifts.

The Second Congregational Church booth was doing a good business in hot coffee and apple crisp, while the ambulance service’s fresh popcorn could be smelled along most of the street. Another booth offered hot dogs and other goodies.

The festival was sponsored by the Wilton Main Street Association.

“It’s wonderful to have events like this,” association board director Caryn Mayo said. “It brings exposure to downtown. And the entertainment is great,” she added, listening to the performance of Amy Conley on the other side of Lot 48. “And it’s great to be in the new park.”

Other performers included Steve Lechner and Science Works and Rich Hamilton of Stillhouse Jammers.

Several others agreed, noting “a good use of the old parking lot.”

But many people come as much for socializing as for shopping, meeting and talking with friends, and exchanging news. The biggest news of the day was a fire Friday evening in the Color Shop, which is now under renovations. A fire in a floor sander was noticed through a window by a passerby and was quickly extinguished. The only damage was to the front door, which was broken by firemen gaining entrance. They tossed the burning sander out into the street.

The Main Street Association will host the Seasons Greetings Holiday Stroll in early December.