Aurora, 8, won the Heritage Harvest Festival’s pie baking competition with a blackberry pie. | Jennifer Hines
SAMARIA — Hay rides. A pie baking contest. Apple cider pressing.
The tiny town of Samaria, in Oneida County, drew hundreds from far and wide to welcome fall with all manner the seasonal activities.
Luke Waldron, who is responsible for the Malad Valley Heritage Square, which hosted the Heritage Harvest Fest said he measured the excitement by the number of children who left crying.
With a bit of a chuckle, Waldron said he knew the two-day event was a hit Friday night as he watched “a whole bunch of kids” being forced to leave while crying to stay.
“I’m very happy with the turnout, and I think everybody’s having fun,” he said. “It’s fun to finally have a place that people can come enjoy.”
Among the activities were candle dipping, corn shelling, apple cider pressing and a highly competitive pie-baking contest.
Pies being judged. | Jennifer Hines
EastIdahoNews.com was asked to serve among the judges, who were forced to choose a winner of $100 and a $50 gift basket.
A total of 15 bakers submitted pies for a blind tasting.
Eight-year-old Aurora, from Malad, won the competition with a delicious blackberry pie her mother said she made mostly herself.
“She did the crust herself and she put (the blackberries) in, I just did the on-the-stove stuff,” Cortney Olsen, Aurora’s mother said.
Aurora’s blackberry pie. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
The junior baker was shy, but did say she was excited to win the competition. Asked what plans she had for her winnings, she said: “I think I’m going to play some games.”
Beyond the games, competitions and petting zoo, the fall fest featured some classic October fun in the form of a pumpkin walk and a haunted homestead — with the former home of Donny and Marie Osmond’s mother Olive decorated with faux headstones and spiders.
Haunted Homestead. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
A member of the heritage square committee, Travis Whipple was in charge of the decorations. His goal, as the master of decorations, is to grow the pumpkin walk into something that rivals one that draws thousands in Logan, Utah.
“Really, it’s all about starting something,” he said. “We’re hoping to make this an annual tradition and make it grow from here. I’m excited for the amount of people we’ve got, because I know that this is probably the lowest it’s ever going to be, and it’s a good crowd.”
Apple cider press with sign in English and Welsh. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
Waldron saw the event as a success as well, so much so that the lesson he will take into next year’s planning is adding more people to the planning committee.
He also has plans for the square itself, starting with finishing the gift shop — which is being developed inside a structure built in the late 1800s.
Deloris Holley, one of the many who attended the event Saturday, made the trek from Utah to see the gift shop-to-be. As the excited 94-year-old told EastIdahoNews.com, the structure — formerly a summer kitchen — was built by her great-grandfather, William William Williams.
“I think this is wonderful,” Holley said. “I’m glad Luke has so much interest in it and worked so hard for it.”
Waldron, a former history teacher, maintains that the goal of the Malad Valley Heritage Square is to honor the history of his hometown.
“When I was a little boy … I spent so much time with (my grandparents),” he said. “Grandpa would read from his Samaria history book — he loved it, it was called the Samaritan. Every day, he would tell me stories and they almost became engrained in me. That’s how I really started loving the history of this town.”
At 14, Waldron formed a plan to start a Samaria museum. He started by displaying old pieces of equipment — like Samaria’s first television — on pallets in his grandparent’s farm.
Tearing up, he told EastIdahoNews.com that he works day in and day out to honor his beloved grandparents.
“I do it because of them,” he said. “I feel them around us and they’re why I do this.”
Luke Waldron instructs volunteers. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
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