Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission celebrated the harvest tradition Saturday with food, music, a craft market and games at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on Johns Island.

“It’s a perfect fall day to be outside,” said Nan Howard of James Island. “The kids are having fun, the music is good and the food is delicious. We couldn’t ask for more.”

The 11th annual Harvest Festival featured music from five local bluegrass bands in addition to jump castles, pony rides, hay rides, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow-building contests and more. The event is a nod to festivals that were held in Colonial America to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.

“My bountiful harvest today is a plate full of food and a cold beverage,” said Howard, who had spread out a blanket and laid claim to a bale of hay for her friends and family to sit on while enjoying the entertainment.

From kettle corn and funnel cake to Italian ice and beer, the festival offered a variety of food. New this year was a barbecue cook-off that allowed visitors to sample portions of pork and then vote for their favorite.

For 4-year-old Caity Lucas of Charleston, the event was all about the activities. “I went in the bounce house three times, rode the ponies and painted a pumpkin,” she said as she waited in line for the face painting.

Although final attendance numbers were not available, hundreds turned out for the event, officials said.

That made it difficult for Claire Hampton of Charleston when she was ready to leave. She had to set off the “panic” alarm on her Ford Explorer key fob to find her SUV among the lines of vehicles.

“I feel really stupid but I just could not find it,” she said as the horn blared. “I knew this would work.”

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or