WATERVILLE — Children’s voices exuded excitement Sunday as they bowled with pumpkins, created crafts with acorns, pine cones and leaves, made greeting cards with pumpkin stamps, and flung apples at metal trash cans using a giant slingshot.

It was cold and clear Sunday at Quarry Road Trails Fall Festival where families took part in fun physical activities, munched on healthful snacks and enjoyed the sun for the first time in days.

Hosted by Friends of Quarry Road, Northern Light Inland Hospital and supported by Waterville Parks and Recreation Department and other businesses and organizations, the festival included all free events, including face painting, bean bag toss, trail walks, a nature scavenger hunt, hay bale maze and other activities.

The festival, scheduled for Saturday, was postponed to Sunday because of heavy rain.

Thomas Klepach and his son, Roa, 9, and daughter, Isla, 7, were busy at the Common Street Arts table, making greeting cards through a process called pumpkin printing.

Isla used a carving tool to create a design on a small, square piece of pumpkin and rolled purple ink on a metal sheet, pressed the pumpkin on the ink and then stamped it on a folded piece of high quality paper.

“It’s fun,” she said. “I would send it to my grandma. It’s a picture of a smiley face and mountains in the background.”

Yvonne Brown, clay studio manager for Common Street Arts who hosts educational programs, said she was enjoying helping the children create.

“It’s always surprising how much focus they put into things,” she said. “It’s fun. I’m really just feeling blessed to be employed by an arts organization and offer free programming to the community.”

At the pumpkin bowling site, children were plucking small pumpkins from a clothes basket and rolling them on two fiber board lanes painted black and orange and placed on an incline. The pumpkins struck plastic bottles half-full of water mixed with orange food coloring.

“It worked out great,” said Jeff Melanson, a member of the Board of Directors for Friends of Quarry Road. “Home Depot donated the paint and particle board and I painted it in my basement. We have two alleys and it seems to be a hit.”

A steady stream of adults and children took part in activities. Lemieux’s Orchard, of Vassalboro, donated the apples for the Apple Sling Shot, according to Melanson.

“It’s a big hit,” he said.

Abraham Hapworth gets some help from Baylee Doughty while pulling back a sling to launch an apple at a target during the Quarry Road Trails Fall Festival in Waterville on Sunday. Staff photo by David Leaming

Next to the Common Street Arts table was a Tinkergarten table where children were creating nature art using items such as acorn caps, pine cones, balsam sprigs, leaves and rose petals. Nearby, children were playing tic-tac-toe, by placing small pumpkins on a grid on the grass.

Kathy Jason, communications specialist, and Baylee Doughty, community health coordinator for Northern Light Inland Hospital, were at a table by the yurt, handing out information about the hospital’s Family Fun Series, a program people may sign up for by calling Doughty at 861-3392.

“It’s a program designed to connect families to free or low cost resources in the area that are fun, and to keep them more healthy and active,” Jason said. “Quarry Road is an example, Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, Inland Woods and Pine Ridge, the China School Forest, Benton Trail System, Common Street Arts, Alfond Youth Center …”

She said Inland’s Let’s Go is a program Doughty touts in 26 school and child care sites and is designed to fight obesity. The message is to eat fiber more, consume fruits and vegetables every day, engage in two hours or fewer of screen time daily, one or more hours of play activity, zero sugary drinks and consume more water, Jason said.

Healthful snacks including little carrots, cheese and slices of cucumber, were being offered Sunday inside the yurt by a table hosted by Healthy Northern Kennebec. Doughty said it is important to encourage children to try healthful snacks and use creative ways to familiarize them with fruits and vegetables such as showing them how to make little characters with them. Consistently exposing children to strawberries and other fruits is key.

“It takes nine to 11 times for a kid to like something that they’re not really sure if they like it or not,” Doughty said. “With adults, it’s five to seven.”

Maine Alpine Guiding Service, Mathieu’s Cycle & Fitness and Central Maine Ski Club, which was taking part in a biathlon Sunday, were among businesses and organizations present.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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