Kirk and Tammy Schmieder look over the seasonal door hangings at Bright Blue Skies Door Decor. BONNIE FUSSELL

An estimated 500 to 600 people attended Hay Day sponsored by Portland High School FFA recently. There were almost 70 vendors along with several food trucks. It was a good day for the community and many small businesses.

The event took place on the PHS campus on a large field next to the building. Over the years, Hay Day has become a popular event in the community.

This year’s event was different because of the COVID epidemic. There were no games for children because of the necessary disinfecting of the game pieces the children share while playing the games.

PHS Agriculture/FFA teacher Brad Kirkham said, “Due to Covid-19 we had to make the hard decision to not have children's games this year. We did not feel we could ensure the sanitation of the area between kids, since most games require multiple kids to touch the same items. Don't worry, we plan to bring the kids activities back in the years to come.”

Hay Day began in the late 1990s or early 2000s on the campus of Portland East Middle School. During recent years, the event has moved to the high school campus, which has allowed for more vendors and other activities.

Leather artisan Ron Waddell from Atlanta drew a large crowd to watch him make leather belts. and key chains engraved with names or initials. Leigh Pollair also drew a crowd watching her use a spinning wheel to turn sheep wool into thread which she planned to make into socks.

Many of the vendors displayed hand-crafted items such as seasonal door hangings. Other booths sold jewelry, games, clothes, and organic canned tomato sauces. A new booth this year was Teddy Bear Mobile which was very popular with young children. The children picked out an animal body. Then the vendor used a machine to fill the body with cotton like material turning it into a stuffed animal.

Traditional pumpkins and mums were also available for purchase.

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