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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:10:07 01:08:12

Brooklynne Evans, 6, of Noxen feeds some of the animals at the petting zoo provided by Endless Mountains Dream Animals.

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STAFF PHOTOS/C.J. MARSHALL Annli Michell, 4, of Noxen, puts the finishes touches on her painting during the SoWyCo Fall Festival.

About 1,000 people showed up at the park behind the Noxen Mini Mart as of 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, to take part in the third annual SoWyCo Fall Festival.

Folks enjoyed the pleasant Indian Summer weather along with the crafts, vendors, food, and various activities at the festival.

“Our goal is to use the proceeds from the Fall Festival and the gun raffle to someday build a recreational center to benefit the children in Noxen and surrounding communities. The building will also be used to house The Pastor’s Food Pantry,” explained Leslie Long, president of the Southern Wyoming Community Center, which organizes the event.

Long emphasized that the Fall Festival as well as other SoWyCo events are a group effort. About 15 people are members of the organization, she said, and all contribute to making the group’s activities a success.

Other local activities provided by SoWyCo include a strawberry social in the summer, as well as a Christmas tree lighting in December.

About 50 vendors participated in the Fall Festival this year, offering crafts, clothing, jewelry, and information.

“The land was donated by Russ Newell,” Long explained. “A well was donated by Sorber Well Drilling.”

Children’s games including a bound house were available, as well as face painting

“A gun raffle is scheduled at 3:45 p.m.,” Long explained. “We’re going to be raffling 19 guns as well as a gun safe.”

A basket raffle will also be held later in the day, Long said, with items donated by local businesses, vendors and individuals.

Last year, proceeds from the festival and the gun raffle raised about $14,000.

One big attraction is the petting zoo provided by Endless Dream Animals. Children eagerly feed pellets to a donkey, a goat, and a lama as they push forward to get the food. Also on display - safely in a glass enclosure - is an alligator. People also have the opportunity to pet exotic birds, such as Cocoa, a Moluccan Cockatoo.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Doris Minus of Noxen. “It certainly was a nice day for it.”

“It’s nice,” said Joseph Newell of Noxen. “I’m impressed with the number of vendors this year. My wife bought an apron, and I got free books from the Bible Church.”

“Business has been good,” said Robin Kaminstein, owner of Queen Bee’s Honey House of Beaumont. “It’s a great day to be out because the weather is so nice.”

In addition to raw honey, Kaminstein also offers a variety of exotic teas for sale - with such blends as Vanilla Cream, Monk’s Blend, Buckingham Palace, and Long Island Strawberry.

Other items available for purchase include candles, key chains, and essential oils.

“It’s been a good day,” said April Karpovich, owner of the Pampered Chef. “People have been stopping by and placing orders.”

“This is a great event because it pulls the community together,” explained Teresa Harris of Noxen. “You come here and you run into people that you haven’t seen in a while.”

“We just came out to support the event,” said Lou MacMillan of Noxen. “I like to bring the kids out because they have a good time.”