Fall has officially arrived. Pumpkins are on the porch. Ghosts and skeletons swing from the trees. Instead of mourning summer, you can celebrate autumn at a fall festival set in the town of Pleasant Valley.
Formerly called the Pleasant Valley Fall Fest, the Pleasant Valley Car Show & Flea Market offers fun for all. On Saturday, Oct. 12, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. you’ll find cars, vendor sales, a petting zoo, a giant basket raffle and traditional fall fare like apple cider, homemade apple dumplings and more at the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company.
St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ hosts the event, which kicks off with registration for the car show from 8:30 to 11 a.m. The Pleasant Valley fire company is located at 2030 South Pleasant Valley Road.
“It is just lovely here in Pleasant Valley,” returning vendor Erica Cole said. “They go all-out with the petting zoo, the car show, homemade food, and the fire company will have the fire trucks out for the kids to see. There is a beautiful pond next door. Coming here, it’s like going back in time. This is a very lovely and loyal community.“
Cole, who lives in Pleasant Valley, said she has a booth and has attended the event with her fiancé for the past three or four years. “We have a wide variety of antiques, vintage collectible, used items, holiday decorations, anything and everything.”
Susie Gist, who is in charge of vendors, said there’s a mix of flea market and crafts.
“And with the car show combo, we offer something for men and for ladies,” Gist said. “We have regulars who come every year for apple dumplings and cookies. And we have faithful vendors who come with their crafts. One sells seasonal crafts, another one does clay crafts and ornaments, and then we have one lady who has items for pets. One has a really beautiful display of jewelry, and new this year, we have someone selling honey and another selling flavored popcorns."
Committee member Angela Bowersox raved about the car show.
“I am always in awe of the beautifully restored cars and trucks that show up,” she said. “Our show is special since the cars and trucks are judged by individuals that know cars and trucks inside and out. Most shows determine trophy winners by popular vote. But we do have a Participants' Choice Category for popular vote, too.”
The first 75 cars to register receive a goodie bag with a lunch voucher and a magnetic plaque. Register in advance for $10 per car or at the show for $15 per car. Cars can show in three categories; cars, 1994 and older; custom and hot rod vehicles of all ages; and trucks of any year.
“We are known for our great food, including barbecue, hot dogs, taco in a bag, chili, chicken corn soup, ice cream sandwiches, apple dumplings, peanuts from Texas Roadhouse, and pies,” Bowersox said. “I missed out on my favorite apple dumplings last year because I didn’t purchase early, and they were gone by noon!”
Gist said she likes spending time with other church members the day before the event to bake pies and apple dumplings.
“We have a baked goods table with slices of pies and cakes, brownies, cookies and fudge, and a special table just for homemade cookies,” she said.
The sales benefit Carroll County Food Sunday. Bowersox said the mission of the church is to support local charities.
“We will be collecting coats for Shepherds Staff, and Wreaths Across America, too, and will have a display featuring Pleasant Valley Cemetery’s participation in this event for the for the time this December,” she said.
When conversation turned to the petting zoo, Bowersox enthusiastically shared what she likes most.
“At 10 a.m., quarter horse Misty — not of Chincoteague — along with her human, Liuda Galinatis, will do an interactive hands-on informational presentation for children of all ages,” she said. “Misty is a 26-year-old quarter horse who has performed with the Mount Airy Saddle Guys and Gals Drill Team, has been in parades and won championships at horse shows and in judged pleasure trail rides. I enjoy watching the interaction of the children with the animals at the Petting Zoo, especially when Misty performs.”
This ever-evolving annual fall festival has again added something new, a large themed Basket Raffle, with tickets available for $1 each, six for $5 or an arm’s length for $10.
“[We’ll have] at least 25 baskets, including one for chocolate, one for Baltimore Orioles, Ravens, books, Italian dinner, everything birds, candles, lots of Lego, Halloween, celebrating Maryland, Christmas, Texas Roadhouse and many others,” Bowersox said. “There will also be automotive gift certificates, restaurant gift certificates and other items. You may choose which items you want a chance to win.”
Browsing through books is also on Bowersox’s to-do list. The donated books are available to the public for a donation.
“We’ll also have books [through] a program called Reading Changes Lives,” she said. “People can take a book, or they can leave a book. And if you want to make a [cash] donation, you can do that as well. Donations from the past two years have enabled our church to build our Little Free Library, which has been very popular.”
To donate more than a book, consider bringing along gently worn outgrown coats, which the church is collecting for The Shepherd’s Staff.
“It doesn’t cost anything,” Gist said of the festival. “It is good to get out and walk around among friends, have a nice bowl of soup and a sandwich and take an apple dumpling home. You can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the community.”
“The small-town America feeling of Pleasant Valley is charming and historic and kind of undiscovered,” she said. “The Ladies Auxiliary still makes home-cooked food. This is a great event.”