Harvest Fest

Try your luck – and your limbo skills – at the donut dangle. Stuff your face in a pie eating contest. Find out what a fried Oreo is. Or be healthy and get your blood pressure checked. Princeton Presbyterian Church and the Princeton YMCA hosts a Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 16, at West Windsor Community Park on Princeton-Hightstown Road featuring family activities, health checks, and of course, lots of food.

""Both organizations wanted to do an outreach to offer something back to the community recognizing that there really isn’t a fall festival in West Windsor,"" says Alison Kraus, Harvest Fest director. ""It is a family-oriented event to celebrate the fall – and most of it is free.""

Activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games and prizes, a giant slide, moon jump, an obstacle course and gymnastic areas with balance beams and a trampoline, games and crafts, and hayrides. Health-wise, posture, and blood pressure checks will be offered. There will even be a helicopter and an ambulance for kids of all ages to check out.

Committee members include Ginny DeMartine, event coordinator; Sue Huettig, food leader; Philip Slater, program leader; Eric Bahme, logistics/set-up leader; Joey and Jennifer Li, publicity; Bonnie Stoughton, Princeton Presbyterian Church administrator; Veronica Del Campo, Princeton Presbyterian Church administrative assistant; Helen Dao, YMCA of Princeton Director of Operations; and Richard Smith, CEO of YMCA of Princeton.

""We’ve been working closely with different entertainers in the area like Jugtown Mountain String Band, and groups were delighted to be part of it,"" says Ken Smith, pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church. ""We’ve wanted to have some activity to bring people together on a nice fall afternoon.""

Born in Yonkers, New York, Smith was raised as a Catholic. While attending Kings College in Briarcliff Manor, New York, he says he ""began to think a little more about what I believed in."" He graduated in 1973 with a bachelor of arts degree, and was also married that year to Carol Springer, whom he met at Kings.

A flight attendant with Pan Am, Carol is still a member of World Wings, and teaches at John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton. The couple has four grown children, who are in the process of beginning an entertainment and presentation business together in Pittsburgh. Nathan graduated from the Hun School, Benjamin from the Peddie School, Thomas from Princeton Day School, and Mary from Princeton High School and is now a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University.

Smith was active as a pilot in the United States Air Force from 1970 to 1975, where he was stationed in Texas, California, Chicago, and Florida, and became a captain. He received a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1973 and a master of divinity from Princeton Seminary in 1975. In 1995 he earned his doctor of ministry from Covenant Seminary.

When he graduated from seminary school, he saw a need in the community for Bible study and it mushroomed into the beginnings of the church in 1978. He serves as senior pastor.

At his son Nathan’s wedding, one of the guests talked about not only climbing Mount Everest in Nepal – but in filming a documentary there. ""He invited me to join him if I could make my way there, and I realized that I wanted to do it,"" says Smith. He reached base camp in May, 2004.

Harvest Fest director Kraus says: ""Everyday we are getting more into the event and receiving more donations. We plan to make this an annual event – rain or shine.""

– Lynn Miller

Harvest Fest, Princeton Presbyterian Church, Saturday, October 16, West Windsor Community Park, Route 571, 11 a.m. 609-987-1166. Arts, crafts, pony rides, petting zoo, carnival games, hay rides, moon jump, and food. Entertainment by Jugtown Mountain String Band. Free admission and parking.