Some of Hood River Valley's brightest and best musicians will help celebrate 26 years of the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest when the popular annual event returns Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17-19.
The autumn tradition moves to a new waterfront location this year -- the Hood River Event Site parking lot. Music is scheduled all three days.
New this year will be a beer garden featuring four of the region's best microbreweries, plus a wine tasting area with four top Gorge wineries.
One custom remains the same, though -- outstanding musicians from throughout the region will be on hand all three days, volunteering their talents to fill the event with live music.
Entertainment is free with $5 Harvest Fest admission. The main stage will be located near the beer and wine gardens, within earshot of the event's food vendors.
Music begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, with local pickers Pennies and Small Change, who excel in bluegrass, classic fiddle tunes, folk and Americana styles. The talented quintet features Peny Wallace on mandolin and vocal, Jack Shepherd on guitar and vocals, Emily Krager on bass and vocals, and Susan Crowley on banjo and vocals.
Up-and-coming acoustic trio Fresh Err takes the stage at 6 p.m. Fresh Err features Erika Bisset, Remy Smith and Robert Rose, who perform an array of genres, including classic rock, folk rock, Irish tunes, bluegrass, modern acoustic pop, reggae, country and acoustic blues. Fresh Err has won over audiences at a variety of venues.
For the first time, Harvest Fest will host an after-hours event. A polka dance will be held from 7-10 p.m., as a fundraiser for The Arc of the Mid-Columbia, which works to enhance the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
There will be a fresh start when music resumes Saturday, Oct. 18. Matthew McCravey, Oregon State Fair Talent Show Youth Division champ will be joined by his musical friends during an 11 a.m. set. The 9-year-old sings and plays fiddle, and he's already a veteran of the annual Columbia Gorge Fiddle Contest, held each May.
Northwest Taekwon-Do Karate follows at noon with a martial arts demonstration.
The popular White Salmon Jazz takes the stage at 1 p.m., followed at 3 p.m. by Gipsy Ale, which features Tobias Ammon on violin, Kevin Kingrey on guitar, Ryan McAlaxander on standup bass and Tyson Kingrey on guitar.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, LEZEL performs its own alternative rock sound. The band includes Leo Dorich on guitar and bass, Elijah Maletz on guitar, keyboards, vocals and bass, Zach Grace on vocals and guitar, Eliot Woodrich on bass and keyboards, and Luke MacMillan on drums and bass.
Tranquil Destination closes Harvest Fest's second day with a 6 p.m. performance. Featuring Jared Hannes on guitar and vocals, and Kenny Haley on guitar, mandolin, djembe drum and bass, Tranquil Destination's mellow, authentic sound has cultivated fans across the United States.
Sunday opens traditionally with the gospel music Matthews Family at 10:30 a.m. Music by Misdee continues in that spirit with a noon performance.
Harvest Fest's final act will be popular Gorge-based marimba band Jamba, which features Irene Aikin, Dotty Nelson, Lynn Bergeron, Patti Jo McCarthy, Maureen Strassner, Cindy Biltoft, Anita Johnston, Dick List and Avalon Totten-Denton. Jamba has played major events since last April's Hood River Earth Day celebration, including performances at Blossom Festival, First Friday, the Trout Lake Arts Festival along with White Salmon Art and Wine Fest.