Caleb Davis carves an oar at Gore during the Harvest Fest Saturday. The festival features craftspeople who produce their own goods.
An October weekend with warm temperatures and blue skies made for busy days at Gore and in North Creek for the mountain resort's Harvest Fest and the town's second Autumn Street Fair.
The collaborative effort between town and mountian interests reflects local initiatives to offer lots of activities to visitors and make North Creek a destination, said Gore Region Chamber of Commerce President Dave Bulmer.
“While the weather certainly played a big factor in the success of the weekend, so did everyone working together,” said Bulmer.
The Harvest Fest offered helicopter rides, gondola rides, vendors who create and craft their own wares and lots of activities for kids.
Columbus Day weekend caps off Gore's autumn activities, and is the last time the gondolas are offered before ski season begins.
Gore can't keep track of exact admission numbers for their fall finale event because entry is free. They can, however, use sales of gondola tickets over the weekend to estimate attendance. In recent years, said Gore spokeswoman Emily Stanton, the weekend has drawn 5,000 to 6,000 visitors.
This year, said Stanton, the mountain had about 4,500 gondola riders, and she estimates 10,000 visitors for the festival — easily its busiest year yet. The helicopter had bookings well in advance of the event, she said, and the parking lots were filled to overflowing Saturday afternoon.
The Saratoga-North Creek Railroad served about 1,500 passengers from Friday to Sunday, said spokesperson Sarah Munley.
Sales and events around town coincided with the celebrations, with the Wevertown market and the alpaca farm both celebrating their first year of operation, a big sale at the Ski Bowl and live music at Basil & Wick's.
Downtown, a street fair organized by the town's Business Alliance had shops offering sale-priced merchandise and vendors along the sidewalk selling beer and brats as part of an Oktoberfest theme.
Two artists featured at Tannery Pond's Widlund Gallery were on hand to discuss their work. Carrying people along Main Street were two of the six-passenger golf carts from FrontStreet.
Mike Bowers of barVino, who co-chairs the Business Alliance, said that participating businesses all reported a great weekend.
“If people could not find something to do or see, it was not through lack of effort on the part of the businesses along Main Street,” said Bowers.
The collaboration of the Business Alliance's Autumn Street Fair, the Gore Mountain Harvest Fest and the Saratoga-North Creek Railroad created an event that makes North Creek a destination, said Bowers.
The train station had passengers lined up shoulder-to-shoulder at the platform, down to the parking area and approaching Main Street when loading up for the trip out of town Saturday afternoon.