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Ballston Spa festival offers plenty of treats

At their first meeting in October, the village of Ballston Spa Board of Trustees discussed one of their favorite agenda items: planning an outdoor family seasonal event.

The annual Falling Leaves Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27, with events in and around Kelly Park. The festival kicks off with a costume parade down Milton Avenue at 3:30 p.m., followed by prizes for everything from the scariest to the cutest Halloween get-ups. One year, a woman dressed as a huge Styrofoam slice of pizza, complete with pepperoni, won for the most unusual, and it's a pretty good bet there's a little girl out there who will dress like Snow White and take the prize for cuteness.

The event, now in its 11th year, has traditionally included a duck race with bathtub-style rubber ducks being floated down the Kayaderosseras Creek.

Light winds have traditionally caused the ducks to flounder and make their way to the banks of the creek before even crossing the finish line, so this year the committee decided to switch to a pluck a duck game, giving kids a chance to pick a duck from a small pool to win prizes.

"This is all about the kids, and everything is free for families both in and outside the village," said committee member Meg Stevens, who is also a candidate for a town council seat in Milton.

Throughout the afternoon, kids can get their faces painted, traverse a maze made of hay bales, decorate pumpkins and hear spooky stories by bonfire. For kids with an appetite, there's a pie-eating contest (no word yet on whether the pies will be pumpkin).

Pumpkins will be doing something unusual during the Falling Leaves Festival: They'll be flying.

"We designed the pumpkin catapult because, let's face it, kids love to smash pumpkins on Halloween," said village Mayor John Romano. "We'd rather see them in pieces in the back of the park than on sidewalks Nov. 1."

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