Boulder Creek Ranch kicked off their second annual Harvest Festival on Oct. 15 with a mix of chili, music and children's entertainment.
About 3,000 people attended the festival over the weekend, according to organizer Shelley Keller, with 1,600 of those attending on Saturday, the day of the chili cook off.
The chili cook off was one of the first of the season following this year's International Chili Society world championships Oct. 2. Several former world champions, who served up salsa and both green and red chilies, were in attendance, seeking to win a spot in next year's world championships in Charleston, West Virginia. The Hesperia Star's Hot Off the Presses Chili won third place in the People's Choice judging.
Roughly $3,600 was raised on opening day from both cook off entry fees and attendees' tasting kits for new charity Nurturing Hope, which benefits overseas orphanages, especially in Africa, teaching orphanage residents life skills including farming.
The Harvest Festival continues through the end of the month, with new activities each weekend:
• Ten local bands compete over three weekends — finishing on Sunday — for $700 in cash prizes.
• Boulder Creek Ranch will host trick-or-treating from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Costumes are required, but no scary costumes are allowed. A costume contest will be held from noon to 4:30 p.m., with a winner announced at 6 p.m. The best costume will win a $50 cash prize.
Admission to the Harvest Festival is free, although there is a $5 parking fee on weekends. Activities are paid for with $1 tickets, with most activities requiring two tickets to participate. On Monday through Thursday, a $10 wristband allows children unlimited access to the hayrides, bounce house, playground and petting zoo.
Boulder Creek Ranch is located at 19099 Lemon Street in Hesperia. For more information, visit BoulderCreekRanch.org/harvest-festival.html or call (760) 244-0096.