Scarecrow decorating, pumpkin painting, costume judging, and around town exploring are just some of the activities part of the Hillsdale Business Association’s Awesome Autumn event that will take place Oct. 23 from 5 – 8 p.m .
Awesome Autumn was founded by Jane Stewart, owner of Smith’s Flowers and a member of the Hillsdale Business Association. She said she began the event as a way to generate more business for her new shop.
“I started the event in 2010 when I bought the shop,” Stewart said. “It hasn’t always been called Awesome Autumn. The first year I just used the words ‘free food’ and ‘party’ and I had a lot of people come.”
The event will provide fun for the whole family. Kids can participate in pumpkin painting and movie watching at the Hillsdale Community Library, while adults can enjoy the Pumpkins and Pit Stops scavenger hunt. Participants of Pumpkins and Pit Stops will have a chance to win one of four prizes: an after-hour party at Toasted Mud or $50 gift certificates to Smith’s Flowers, Hillsdale Filling Station Deli, or Nell’s Nest.
Stewart said the event has since grown, but the turnout often depends on the weather and athletics.
“We actually have had more people on rainy, icky, blustery days,” she said. “We recently moved it to a Tuesday for people with sports. It used to be on a Thursday.”
Owner of the Hillsdale Filling Station Deli, Cindy Bieszk, is also a member of the Hillsdale Business Association and a chair of the event. She said the college’s athletic teams often participate in the scarecrow decorating contest.
“We use the scarecrow decorating contest as a way to connect the kids with businesses,” Bieszk said. “We want as many students to get involved.”
The business association hosted the Santa’s Sleigh Hunt as its original event, and has since added Awesome Autumn to its list of community activities.
President-elect of the Hillsdale Business Association Connie Sexton said Awesome Autumn has been a great event for eight years now.
“We have a neat downtown. We want people to see what a great downtown we have,” Bieszk said. “We need the college as much as the college needs the town.”