By RACHAEL KRAUSE | WAVE 3 News
As the fall season and cooler weather approach, a popular southern Indiana festival is on many people’s minds.
Harvest Homecoming is a more than 50-year tradition in New Albany, driving in new visitors and locals alike. This year, there will be a few changes in store for festival-goers.
“Yeah, I’m really excited about it,” New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said.
With Labor Day behind the city of New Albany, many people downtown are turning their thoughts to Harvest Homecoming.
“Yeah, of course,” Jeffersonville resident Bobby Ford said. “And I’m also thinking about what parking’s going to look like here.”
Thousands flock to the annual event, and each person enjoys something different about the festival.
“It’s not just for one walk of life; it’s very inclusive,” Ford said.
“Of course, my favorite part of Harvest Homecoming is the food,” Gahan said.
This year, the annual kickoff parade on Oct. 5 is scheduled for 3 p.m. Parade floats will be able to be viewed after, before a celebration at Bicentennial Park.
And that’s not the only change. Road construction along Market Street downtown will wrap up in time for the festival. When the road reopens, it will look different for drivers and pedestrians.
A wider median makes turning on the busy street easier. New seating and improved streetlighting sit on the new sidewalks, merging the historic downtown with an up-to-date city feel that will impact the festival.
“It will have a little impact on Harvest Homecoming itself,” Gahan said. “That’s where all the pork chops have been for a number of years. Pork chops will still be at Harvest Homecoming, but they’ll be on Bank Street.”
Now, more than half a century old, any changes to Harvest Homecoming are just fine-tuning, getting the riverfront community ready for thousands of visitors.
“It’s just the right amount of people, so I enjoy it,” Ford said.
As one of Indiana’s biggest and most loved fall festivals, city leaders hope the annual tradition continues to bring people back for more.
“Again,” Gahan said. “It’s my favorite time of the year.”