Several contests are held each year at the annual Black Gold Walnut Festival, set to take place Friday and Saturday on the historic court square in Alton.
Friday night will introduce the inaugural community picnic, hoped to become an annual event. The picnic will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Court Square.
All are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket. Picnickers can pack a picnic basket or order carry-out from a local restaurant.
“This is a nice way to relax and enjoy the evening with friends and neighbors,” said festival organizers.
On Saturday, the popular Pumpkin Carving Contest will be held for children on the courthouse lawn. About 90 pumpkins will line the wall of the courthouse waiting for the carving to begin, said organizers. Carving kits are provided; there is no fee to enter the contest. The two age groups are 5-to-8-year-olds and 9-to-12-year-olds. First, second and third place winners for both categories will receive $25, $15 and $10 respectively. Pumpkins must be carved by 11 a.m. for the judging.
Prizes will also be awarded in the baking and woodworking contests on Saturday morning, said organizers. Those entering the contests may take their items to the Alton Chamber of Commerce Booth by 9:30 a.m.
The categories for the baking contest are cakes/pies and quick breads/cookies. Woodworking categories are furniture and decor. The baking items must have black walnuts and the woodworking items must be made of walnut.
Award winners for the Saturday contests will be announced between 11:30 a.m. and noon.
The annual festival also features arts, crafts and food booths. Musical entertainment throughout the day includes Alton choir groups, Preston Ary, Vikki McGee Band and the Creek Stink band.
Alton businesses sponsoring the annual festival include Alton Bank, Harp's Grocery, Powell-Crews Title & Escrow, Quick Connection, Fuel Express, Southern Bank, West Plains Bank and Young's Produce.
To obtain vendor forms or for more information, stop by Alton License Bureau, follow @altonchamber417 on Facebook, or visit AltonMo.com.