20130921Harvestmoon 9-21-13 (TonyPost)-5
(Photo by Tony Post) Ogden’s 25th Street was crowded with people who came to join in on all the fun the Harvest Moon Festival had to offer.

The 12th annual Harvest Moon Festival kicked off with a performance by Waldo the Wildcat and the Weber State University Spirit Squad.

“It means so much to me to come out here and to be supporting my school that I love so much; I’ve been here so long,” said Paul Thorpe, a WSU senior and Spirit Squad member. “Coming out to the community to show them that Weber is here and that we are such a great school and that we have a lot to offer — we’re out here to show that Weber is number one!”

As Ogden’s end-of-summer party, the Harvest Moon Festival included more than 25 family-friendly events and activities, comedians, live music, a farmers market, a fashion show, arm-wrestling contests, a beer and wine garden, and food and beverages provided by 25th Street restaurants.

“Ogden has some awesome stuff,” said Sam Benson, a WSU freshman. “We have an upscale new balcony bar, tons of great restaurants and some of the best people you’re going to find in Utah. I love the Harvest Moon Festival. It’s a great opportunity to show the rest of Utah how great Ogden really is. It’s a great opportunity to come down and get to know your own city. If you think Ogden is boring, it’s because you haven’t been to the parties on 25th Street.”

For many Ogden residents, the Harvest Moon Festival is a family tradition. Betty Reznik of North Ogden has attended the festival for the past five years with her three children.

“The kids love it; there’s really a lot to do,” she said. “We got here around 10 for the farmers market and plan on staying all day. It’s a family-friendly event and there really is something for everyone.”

Children’s festival activities included pumpkin decorating, face painting, a video game bus, a climbing wall, pottery painting and a shootout from the Ogden Mustang hockey team.

Local and national singers played on the main stage into the evening. This year’s headliner was Ethan Tucker. Tucker described his music as a blend of folk, soul, reggae, blues and jazz.

“I enjoy Ethan’s music; it’s the perfect combination for an event like this,” said Brittany Porter, an Ogden resident. “It’s hard to find things these days that the whole family will enjoy. I don’t have to worry about that here. I come for the shopping, my husband loves the music, and the kids love watching the cheerleaders.”

Cody Jordan gave festival-goers a more intimate performance by playing a solo acoustic set opening for Tucker. Other musicians included Ogden’s own 12-year-old Sammy Brue, who sang an arrangement of original songs he has written.

“We love Sammy; he has the purest voice and his lyrics are touching,” Reznik said. “You can tell he is singing from personal experience. It’s the honest singers that will make it someday, and I don’t doubt that Sammy is on his way.”

Some visitors traveled a little farther to attend this year’s festival. The XTERRA National Championship works in conjunction with the Harvest Moon Festival to throw the athletes and their families a one-of-a-kind after-party.

Ino Santiago was in town for XTERRA and visiting Utah for the first time.

“It’s very beautiful up here and the people of Utah are very friendly,” Santiago said. “Ogden is a very charming town, and I love the view of the mountains. They put a lot of work into this party and it shows. I feel fortunate to be a part of the XTERRA community and have the opportunity to come to places like Utah.”

The Historic 25th Street Association sponsors the Harvest Moon Festival. Upcoming events are listed at www.historic25.com.

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