Autumn Fest harvests $1,600 for Merlin Foundation, Grandma’s House

Friday, November 10, 2017
Early-morning fog delayed the start of the Autumn Fest 5K last Saturday at the Berryville Community Center, but it didn’t dampen the runners’ enthusiasm.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

Despite foggy weather, the Autumn Fest was full of bright smiles on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Berryville Community Center.

Kaleigh Evans, public relations coordinator for Grandma’s House Children’s Advocacy Center, said Grandma’s House and the Merlin Foundation hosted the event, bringing in about $1,600 for Carroll County.

“The money raised in Carroll County stays in Carroll County,” she said, “so these funds will be used for local programs and residents.”

The event featured a 5K, booths, bouncy houses, an obstacle course, scarecrow races, face-painting, hay rides, tamales and chocolate-covered apple pops, Evans said.

“This was kind of our seed event. We had about 27 runners who came out and did the 5K for us,” she said. “We had a bit of a delay at the beginning because we had all that fog that morning. We couldn’t see, so we had to delay the race about 30 minutes.”

Fortunately, Evans, said participants were willing to wait for the weather to improve.

“All of our runners stuck around for us and ran the race,” she said. “Afterward, everybody migrated to the soccer fields at the community center, where we had our festival going on. Jim Ross drove the truck and trailer for the hayride. Powell Feed and Milling of Harrison donated the truck and trailer, and Kevin Hostetler donated the hay.”

She said Grandma’s House and the Merlin Foundation were thankful for the volunteers who helped make the Autumn Fest a fun event for everyone.

“It was a really great fun day,” Evans said. “We had a lot of kids getting their faces painted and enjoying themselves. All of the adults got really into everything and were competing against each other for the obstacle courses. It was a great day.”

While fundraising was one of the main goals of the event, she said another was introducing the organizations to the Berryville community.

“We moved our center from Green Forest to Berryville, so this was a way for people to get to know more about us,” Evans said, “and know we are more centralized for the people who live in Carroll County. We’re even closer for the people who live in Madison County now.”

She continued, “There were tons of people there who are already affiliated with the organizations, but we saw a lot of new faces, too.”

Evans said the sponsorships for the Autumn Fest were phenomenal, thanking local businesses for investing in a new event.

“It was a bunch of businesses we’ve never reached out to before,” she said. “The fact they were so kind and so willing to jump with us into this to start something new and get our name out there to all these people in our community was just phenomenal.”

Evans said Grandma’s House and the Merlin Foundation appreciate the community’s support and will continue to plan community events.

“Like every event we do, it’s never going to be as successful if we don’t have the support of our community backing us,” she said. “We’re so thankful for their support.”

The new Grandma’s House center is located at 206 S. Main St. in Berryville. For more information, visit

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