YARDLEY BOROUGH >> In one of the best attended Harvest Days in recent memory, thousands flocked to the streets of Yardley to celebrate the last official weekend of summer.
From East College Avenue to Bell and from FitzGerald Field to Canal Street, visitors jammed the streets on Saturday, harvesting crafts, information, food and plenty of summer smiles.
Vendors were plentiful, lining the streets with a cornucopia of items, from seasonal decorations to jewelry, antiques, embroidery and even hot fudge sauce.
This year’s festival brought 27 food vendors, 27 nonprofits and 112 crafters to the streets, along with two bounce houses, pony rides, two face painters, balloon twisters and lots more.
Even the Philly Phanatic got in on the fun, maneuvering among the morning crowds and posing for lots of photos, including one with the members of Yardley-Makefield VFW Post and another with the Yardley Duck, the new mascot of the Yardley Coalition For Traffic Safety.
At the corner of Canal Street and East College Avenue, members of the Harvest Day Committee spent a busy day selling green Harvest Day t-shirts and handing out complimentary Harvest Day tote bags.
In fact the day was so busy that by 3 p.m. they had run out of the tote bags, said committee leader Rich Wayne. “This appears to be the most heavily trafficked Harvest Days ever,” he said.
“This is exciting,” Wayne added, gazing around at the crowd flowing over the East College Avenue Bridge. “It’s great that so many people want to be a part of this.”
Not far away, standing amidst a sea of people, members of the Yardley-Makefield VFW were busy handing out handmade red poppies made by veterans for the support of veterans.
Nearby, Pennsbury School District’s Ann Langtry was handing out literature spotlighting the school district and its various programs and activities. She was also enjoying the incredible view of the Delaware Canal and Towpath from her spot on the East College Avenue bridge.
Just a few booths away, North Main Street resident Sandy Bowker and her neighbors were asking visitors to weigh in on their biggest traffic-related concerns in the borough by placing a sticker next to the issue of greatest concern, which included trucks, speeding, pedestrian and bike safety and others.
“What we’re hearing today is that people are concerned by speeding and trying to cross Main Street safely. They are the two biggest concerns,” said Bowker. “Safety is the major issue overall.”
The group - Yardley Action Coalition For Traffic Safety - is collecting data through several different methods, including its Harvest Day survey, which it will present to borough council, State Senator Steve Santarsiero and State Rep. Perry Warren in its ongoing effort to improve traffic safety along North Main Street.
“We will be presenting our ideas at a future council meeting on ways we think will slow down traffic,” said Bowker, including the possibility of installing crosswalks at various locations and speed signs written on the roadway “just to get the speed down.”
Just down the street, members of the Sons of the American Legion were busy trying to keep up with the demand from hungry festival goers. They had already run out of Philly Pretzels and were running low on hot dogs and bottled water.
“We sold 72 breakfast sandwiches this morning. We sold 350 pretzels. We have less than 80 hot dogs left out of 450. I’d say we’re doing great,” said Commander Ted Smith.
Among the most visible projects of the Sons of the American Legion are the stunning American flags that are displayed along Main Street during the spring, summer and fall.
Meanwhile, over at FitzGerald Field the place was bustling with people and activity. As music filled the air, some stood in line for food while others watched their children take pony rides or have a blast inside the two bounce houses.
There were huge lines all day at the Mexican food truck, a new addition this year. Other trucks offered fresh fruit, pizza and funnel cake.
Over on College Avenue, the smell of crab cake sandwiches drifted through the air as Hal Long from the Morrisville-Yardley Rotary Club handed out flyers about the club and the beneficiaries of its work.
Proceeds from Harvest Day are funneled back into the community in the form of donations to groups like the Friends of Lake Afton, the Yardley Historic Association, the Yardley-Makefield Emergency Unit, the Pennsbury Scholarship Foundation among others.
“We did such a great job last year that we had a Pennsbury scholarship named for Yardley Harvest Day,” said Wayne. “And we’re hoping to do so again this year.”
For the committee members, Harvest Day culminates 11 months of hard work and planning.
“Seeing it all come together at 7 this morning is just a relief,” said Wayne. “The work of the committee paid off. Harvest Day doesn’t happen without the volunteers, without the committee and especially the Pennsbury National Honor Society. We can’t do this without them.”