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Our History

When the weather starts getting cooler and football season kicks off, the Harvest Festival is right around the corner. The Milton Harvest Festival is a community tradition that stretches over a one-week span. In 1977, the Festival’s inaugural year, it was only a three-day event. Today, daily events are scheduled throughout the week

The tradition began as the Tomato Harvest Festival and was associated with Hector Boiardi and the Chef Boyardee plant in Milton. Mr. Boiardi (left) served as the event’s grand marshal in the 1978 parade.  Every year, people look forward to the Harvest Festival Parade, and every year they return.

The Arts and Crafts Events held on both Saturdays of the festival provide both current and former Milton residents the opportunity to visit friends they might not have seen since the previous year.

The Princess Pageant, which originated in 1977, provides scholarships

and awards for young women in Milton. In 1982 a Little Miss Pageant

was added, followed by the Junior Miss Pageant in 1999.



Committee members who gave selflessly of their time and talent to make the Milton Tomato/Harvest Festival a community tradition since 1977 and who have passed on:

Stan Brown
Fred Eschbach
Shirley Gromlich
Ralph Hans
Frank Hartzell
Robert Heyman
Jane Kaar
Lewis Kepler
Gina Lewis
Shirley Loreman
Wilbur “Bud” Mauger
Ed Reaser
Marguerite Ruth
John Waldron, Sr.
Ben Zechman
Betty Zechman
Kitty Eschbach

John Yingling
Bill Walters

In 2002, the Betty Zechman Spirit Award was created and given to the Princess Pageant candidate who best exemplifies Betty’s spirit of enthusiasm and commitment. The winner is chosen by written vote of the contestants

and their advisors, and is selected as the candidate who has most consistently demonstrated kindness, helpfulness, cheerfulness, and camaraderie during

ALL Princess Pageant and Harvest Festival activities.

2024 Harvest Festival Committee

Chair: Derek Longan

Co Chair: Sarah Dries

Secretary: Nancy Slease

Treasurer: Kate Bailor

Pumpkin Roll & Scarecrow Patch: Charlene Heddings
Princess Pageant:
Ginnetta Reed
Little & Junior Miss: Tia Mitch

Arts & Crafts: Derek Longan
Pops Concert: Kate Bailor
Panther Walk:
Ray Coker
5K Race: Michael  Hauck

Pet Parade: Sue Straub
Parade: Matt Mitch
Bike Race: Rotary

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