Van Alstyne hosted its annual Fall der All Festival and parade on Saturday, turning the downtown area into an autumnal wonderland.
Pumpkins, hay bales and all the classic colors of fall lined the town’s center streets and ushered in the arrival of the new season. Musicians played under gazebos and on stage, while local businesses and organizations took the opportunity to set up tents, telling passers-by about their goods and services.
The cool shade under Hazel Bright’s tent couldn’t hide the vivid oil paintings and photographs of birds and flowers that she was hoping to sell to festival-goers. Bright said that Fall der All was a great way to share her art, but an even better way to connect with those who call Van Alstyne home.
“It gives me an opportunity to meet people,” Bright said. “I’ve been in Van Astyne for the better part of a decade, so I like the small town and I like the friendly people here.”
More than 20 Van Alstyne organizations participated in the parade this year. Some made the march down Preston Street on foot while others rode in decorated pickup trucks and sports cars.
But riding atop one of the most Texan forms of transportation possible — a horse — was Casey Belew. She and fellow members of the Kings Trail Cowboy Church saddled up for the parade and were excited to spread the word about their disaster relief efforts. Belew explained that the parade was a unique opportunity for her church and other participants to educate the townspeople about ongoing community projects.
“It just gives everybody a chance to get out and advertise all the the different community activities,” Belew said.
Classic cars parked up and down the streets provided a different take on horsepower and caught the eyes of many who attended the event.
Bill Powell drove his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria to the festival with the hopes that it would do well in the classic car contest. Powell explained that because so many fall-themed celebrations are held on the same weekends, he and fellow auto enthusiasts must make tough decisions on which contests to enter.
“There’s so much stuff going on at this time of the year,” Powell said. “You’ve really got to pick and choose.”
Echoing that same sentiment was Spencer Stalder, owner of Cowtown Kettle Corn. Stalder explained that after the summer off-season, his family business had to take advantage of the many fall festivals in the area, sometimes attending two or three events all in the same day.
“The fall is always the best time for kettle corn,” Stalder said as he and his children handed freshly filled bags of the sweet treat to hungry customers.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Connie Christensen said that she and fellow organizers worked hard to spread the word about this year’s festival and hoped their efforts would draw even more outside visitors to the town in the coming years.
“We’d love to have even more folks from outside communities come in and see how great Van Alstyne is,” Christensen said.
As the Fall der All Festival wound to a close, Christensen reflected on the celebration and said that the many people bustling about were an undeniable sign of the event’s success.
“Turnout was great,” Christensen said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”