Hundreds gathered at Camp Pendleton’s Stuart Mesa Community Center to embrace the fall season during the annual Harvest Festival, Oct. 26.
The event, sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services, offers a fun and safe alternative for Marines and their families to celebrate the holidays without ghosts, goblins and vampires.
“During this time of year everyone has scary trails and haunted houses,” said Regina Hunters, Stuart Mesa recreation specialist and coordinator of the event. “This is a great opportunity for families to come and enjoy the season with their kids in a fun and non-scary environment.”
The free festival offered hay rides, carnival games, refreshments, pony rides, a petting zoo, balloon and face paint artists, pumpkin picking, moon bounces, and arts and crafts.
The three-hour affair also hosted a dance recital titled “In a Daze” by the Stuart Mesa’s dance program, which caters to toddlers through teenagers.
“Our family never misses this event,” said Melissa King, annual attendee with her husband and two children. “There’s nothing better than a relaxing community event that’s still interactive for our kids.”
King, who came out of surgery three hours before the event, insisted that her and her family would not miss this opportunity.
“My husband just got back from deployment, so the kids really miss him,” she explained. “This is just the best place for us to have fun, dress up and be a family.”
In addition to the fun-filled activities for the families, vendors also provided educational information to the attendees from dental hygiene to health and fitness.
“We look forward to putting on this event every year,” said Hunters. “It’s fun, safe and great way to celebrate the season in a positive atmosphere.”