Harvest Moon Festival returns to Onset

Sep 25, 2022

Onset sent the summer off with a bang as the Harvest Moon Festival — complete with fireworks — returned for the first time in over two decades.

Droves of people came out with friends and family on Sept. 24 to shop at local vendors, browse through rows of classic cars, hear live music, and of course see the fireworks over Onset Bay. 

This event is a reimagining of the Harvest Moon Festival that was last held in the early 1990s, said Kat Jones, the executive director of the Onset Bay Association and organizer of the event.

“As everyone knows, we didn’t have fireworks on the Fourth of July,” she said. “So we figured why not make a whole day of it and see what happens.”

Vendor booths lined the sidewalks of the village and sold everything from candles to hand-made artwork to psychic readings. 

Thomas Rego, who was working the booth at Meme’re’s Cupboard, sold traditional staples like grape jelly and blueberry jam. But more adventurous flavors like spicy tomato jam and Mountain Dew jelly also flew off the shelves. 

Nearby, the not-for-profit organization Kindness Apothecary sold hand-sewn scarves and bandanas to raise money for people in need of basic necessities. 

Musical acts that spanned genres from reggae to classic rock to bluegrass got people on their feet and dancing in front of the Lillian Gregorman Bandstand.

Only a few yards away from the live music, people waited in line for cone-shaped pizza at the event’s food court. There was truly something for everyone. 

According to Jones, the festival — including fireworks — cost around $55,000 to put on. 

While state and local grants can cover the costs of family activities like face painting and balloon animals, private donations from local businesses and summer residents of the town paid for most of the festival, said Jones.

“It’s a community effort, every single business in the village contributes in some way,” said Jones. “Whether that’s an in-kind donation or a good old-fashioned check.”

The day’s festivities concluded with a 30-minute fireworks display over Onset Bay while hundreds of people watched from the beach, illuminated by the colors above.