IMPERIAL â€“ The sounds of live country music and children laughing accompanied the smells of kettle corn and carne asada, and both intermingled in the air as crowds took in the festivities of the Harvest Palooza on Saturday.
Hosted by the Imperial Market Days, the Palooza is an annual event that heralds in Thanksgiving and the cooler fall season.
A four-block street fair with booths on both sides, the Harvest Palooza included a wagon ride pulled by a pair of Clydesdale horses along with a hay-bale maze, both featured on the north end. The sales booths held arrays of jewelry, fresh produce, candles and crafts. Other booths exhibited hula-hoops, face painting, and science experiments designed for the younger patrons of the Palooza.
Vanessa Vaca, owner of San Sebastian Rustic in Brawley, said she enjoyed her time at the Harvest Palooza. While her store has been in business for nine years, this was her first time setting up a booth in the Palooza.
â€œI think itâ€™s good for the local community to have an event like this, now that the weatherâ€™s nice,â€ said Vaca. â€œIt helps out the economy and it gives you something to look forward to every year.â€
One of the crowdâ€™s younger members was seven-year-old Maximus Alvarez of Imperial and he commented that his favorite booth was the Imperial Valley Discovery Zone. When asked why, he simply said, â€œIt was cool! And they have a lot of cool stuff!â€
The â€œcool stuffâ€ consisted of an organ made out of large PVC pipes manned by Imperial Highâ€™s Jonas Bunda, and a cyclone machine made out of dry ice, fans, and multi-colored lights that produced an â€œother-worldlyâ€ effect.
Dan Gibbs is the advisor for the Imperial Valley Discovery Zone. He explained, â€œOur booth is showing information about our group, which is the Imperial Valley Discovery Zone. Itâ€™s through the Imperial Unified School District and weâ€™re working under a few grants where we train high school students to facilitate S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) lessons to K-6 students.â€
Gibbs went on to explain that the Discovery Zone is also under the Project USA grant, which allows high school students to create experiments in their areas of interest and exhibit them in the Discovery Zone.