CLINTON — The Downtown Partnership is celebrating the start of autumn with a first-time event this year.

The Fall Festival on Fifth, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the 300 block of Fifth Avenue South, will celebrate the fall season, which officially starts Tuesday, and highlight downtown Clinton.

The event will include a chili cook-off, a craft fair, food, entertainment, a dunk tank, a pie-eating contest in three age categories, a Guitar Hero contest, prizes, a children’s craft tent, a petting zoo and a children’s fun zone modeled after an ice cream social.

“Hopefully, it’ll be the first of many fall festivals,” said Becci Day-Streets, chairwoman of the Downtown Events Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, which helped organize the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce event.

The event replaces Autos on the Avenue, an annual downtown car show in the month of August that ran for three years. The Fall Festival on Fifth will carry on the car show’s spirit of fun for all age groups. Organizers are hoping to make it a successful annual event that will showcase downtown businesses.

“I don’t think many people realize that we have as much as we do down here,” said Day-Sheets, who owns Bizzy B Scrubs, 246 Fifth Ave South.

Day-Streets said entrance to the event and entertainment is free, although there is a small fee for kids to get into the fun zone. Grandmother’s Soul, 103 Sixth Avenue South, will cater the event, and a vendor from Davenport will sell slices of caramel apples. An entertainment tent will showcase performances by local dance groups from about 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Day-Streets said the styles of dance are varied, with performances scheduled in classic ballet and tap, square dancing and more modern urban hip-hop.

“We’ve got a little something for everybody,” she said.

Because the fall weather is much more temperate than the extremes of summer and winter, Day-Streets said the committee is expecting a good turnout for the festival’s first year. The committee also looked at the turnout at its other local events to gauge numbers for Saturday.

“With this being a first-time event, we’re hoping there’s tons of people,” said Day-Streets, adding that organizers have widely advertised the festival. “We’re hoping several hundred people will show up.”

The festival’s craft show will also include jewelry makers and ceramics, and additional vendors will sell makeup and bath and body products.

“We’ve got a great list of vendors coming out this year, but it’s probably going to double or triple next year,” said Day-Streets. “Our goal is to one day take over the entire Fifth Avenue from the 100 block to the 300 block.”

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