Sipe’s Orchard holding fall festival

An area organization committed to serving children and their families will hold its first Bloomin’ Orchard Festival on Saturday.
Sipe’s Orchard Home will celebrate Catawba County children and their families with a festival from noon to 5 p.m. Proceeds from the event benefit the organization’s Houston House Transitional Living Center.  
“We wanted it to be something the community could enjoy,” said Brian Phelps, Sipe’s Orchard Home president. “This is an event that we can raise money and raise friends, too.”
This is the first time Sipe’s Orchard Home will hold a Bloomin’ Orchard Festival, but the staff is up to the challenge.
“We’ve got some other inquiries and applicants (for the Houston House), and we’re hoping we can help more kids,” Phelps said.
The Houston House is a residential program for homeless 16- to 21-year-old young adults who aged out of foster care, are runaways or who have no other place to stay.
While children and young adults stay at the Houston House, they participate in life-skills and job-readiness training, as well as learn financial and household management.
Sipe's Orchard Home already raised enough money from advance sales for the Bloomin’ Orchard Festival to fund one child at the Houston House for one year.
Five youth currently live in the Houston House.
The event starts at noon, and parking and festival admission are free.
Attendees can enjoy performances from Irish step dancers, The Whistling Woman, American Pride cloggers and bluegrass and folk music.
“A lot of the talent is local talent, and it’s hidden talent that people might not usually see,” said Nan Lacy, Sipe’s Orchard Home director of development. “It’ll be a neat day.”
Festival goers can also try their luck at games for adults and children, including a cow milking game.
“We thought it went well with the farm theme of the event,” Lacy said.
From noon to 1:30 p.m., mystery political candidates will be inside the dunking booth at the Bloomin’ Orchard Festival, and people can try to dunk the candidates for $1 a throw.
Donations for all game participation are appreciated.
“We’ve been so excited that we’ve had such a good outpouring of response from the community,” Lacy said. “All the sponsors really stepped up to the plate.”
Other activities at the event include pony and horseback rides, bounce houses and hot-air balloon rides.
Food and craft vendors will also be at the Bloomin’ Orchard Festival selling their goods.
“There’s no two kinds of food alike,” Lacy said.
The day will end with a concert from Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours.
“It’s a family concert, and it’s clean fun,” Lacy said. “It goes hand-in-hand with what Sipe’s is all about.”
Tickets for the show in advance are $20 for adults and $10 for students. At the festival, tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Children 5 and younger are free.
“From what I hear, when people leave (Antsy McClain and The Trailer Park Troubadours) concerts, they feel so much better,” Lacy said. “They’re pepped up. The music really speaks about what life is like today.”
The event will be held rain or shine, and concert goers are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.