REED CITY — The nasty weather took a turn for the better last week just in time for Reed City’s first Fall Festival, and according to the Chamber’s executive director, Suzie Williams, “This won’t be the last one. It was just great.”

A large crowd gathered at the Depot, where they were able to sit outside and enjoy the music played by Jack Burton’s band, or move inside and sample the chili cooked up by area restaurants for the Chili Cook-off.

Nestle Inn took first as the creators of “Reed City Area’s Best Chili” with five judges making that decision, and Pere Marquette Catering took first place for cooking up Reed City’s Favorite Chili, taking that honor by popular vote.

Others in the cook-off included Pompeii’s Pizza, Seven Slot Grille, and Spectrum Health/Reed City Hospital. Spectrum had four chili entries, one each from four of their cooks.

Also a popular offering for the day were the hay rides that traveled both east and west from the depot on the Rails to Trails. Youngsters and adults alike boarded the wagon drawn by a team of horses, and when the group told one family there was more space to climb aboard, there was still more room “on up front,” the little kids hurried aboard and clambered right up with the driver.

He smiled, kept a close on the tiny tykes and away they went.

Williams said that in addition to being very thankful to have the band, chili cook-off participants and hay rides provided by Allan Kearns, a dose of appreciation needs to go to Amanda Powers and the Reed City cheerleaders for helping all evening with kids games.

Also, she noted that Richard Pemberton of the Nestle Inn Café grilled hot dogs for the kids, Wright’s Bake Shop donated breads and pies to go with the Chili Cook-off, and Vic’s Supermarket donated the hot dogs, buns, drinks and the makings for walking tacos.

Williams said Pere Marquette provided the chafing dishes, tablecloths, utensils, “and anything else we needed, and the INC Spot was generous in both donations and help,” as was Spectrum Health/Reed City.

She said many volunteers pitched in to help, including Roberta Richardson, Nancy Youngs, Chris and Dave Willard and their children (Trent, Devin and Maya), along with Jim Towns who assisted with the 50/50 raffle.

The Fall Festival Committee included Roger Deno, Brenda Bowman, Ellen Finkbeiner, and Ruth Sajnenkoff.

In addition to her thanks, Williams promised that next year Reed City will host the Second Annual Fall Festival.