WATERVILLE — It was sunny but cool at midday Saturday, the crisp air a definite change from the preceding day’s unseasonably warm weather.

In other words, it felt like fall on Quarry Road, a fitting climate for the events going on there Saturday, the day of the annual Fall Festival, a day filled with plenty of activities to get people outside before winter arrives.

Ellen Wells, the community wellness team leader at Inland Hospital, one of the event’s sponsors, said by midway through the festival, there had been a great turnout. She wasn’t sure if it was larger than in past years, but overall the organizers were happy with the size of the turnout.

“We want people from all over to discover Quarry Road Trails,” she said.

In addition to Inland Hospital, the event — which is part of a monthly Family Fun Series — is sponsored by Friends of Quarry Road, Common Streets Arts, Waterville Parks and Recreation, the Children’s Discovery Museum and other organizations.

“It takes a village to make these things happen,” Wells said.

The event, which took place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is designed for families to come out and experience the trails, to promote being active year-round and to spend a day outside. Wells said this particular event had been going on for three or four years, and it showcases Quarry Road as a regional resource. Saturday’s events included a haystack maze, a hill climb challenge to the top of the sledding hill, a cider making press, face painting, a bean bag toss and other events.

“I’m amazed at how the community comes together for these events,” she said.

One of the more popular events was apple slinging, in which participants launched apples out of a slingshot-style device and aimed them at trash cans farther up the hill. The crowd at the base of the hill groaned when an apple barely missed its mark, then cheered when a second apple landed in one of the cans with a loud thud. Another seemingly well attended event was pumpkin bowling, in which children rolled pumpkins down a hill toward bottles.

The trail systems were open for walking and riding bicycles, and Wells said there was also a winter word hunt and “story trail” event, in which families went around the trails to find chapters of a story.

“It gets them out to see the trails,” she said.

As part of a monthly series designed to get people outside and active, Wells said there was a raffle for people who attend at least three of the annual events. The winner gets a $500 L.L. Bean gift card, which then can be used to buy equipment to be more active outside.

The trail grounds were still damp and muddy from the amount of rain that fell almost a week ago, and Wells said that did present a challenge. She said it was possible that the attendance was aided by the fact that many people in the region haven’t had electrical power since Monday’s storm, and Saturday’s festival provided an opportunity to get out and do something with the family.

“It certainly seems like it helped,” she said.

Joel and Shannon Lockwood and their two daughters, Madelyn, 5, and Norah, 2, were standing near a hula hoop station about an hour before the event wound down. The Oakland residents said they had arrived just recently, and that they attend many of the Family Fun Series events.

“It’s great for families with kids,” Shannon Lockwood said.

Shannon Lockwood said Norah had enjoyed the maze, and Madelyn listed a handful of events she had enjoyed, including the maze and the hula hoops.

Shannon Lockwood said they had seen some of their daughters’ friends at the festival, and said such events are good things for groups to do together.

“I still want to do the apple slinging,” she said.

“It’s great. It’s lots of fun,” Joel Lockwood said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis


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