AutumnFest lights up the town with festival

The crowd is impressed with this amazing T-bucket roadster at the AutumnFest Show N’ Go cruise.

Yucaipa put on its eighth annual AutumnFest last weekend in Historic Uptown Yucaipa and it was one of the largest and most successful yet, according to committee members and attendees. The two-day celebration started Friday and continued through Saturday night.

“Yucaipa never fails to impress,” said Redlands resident Rebecca Dabbs on Saturday evening. “I had so much fun at AutumnFest this weekend with family and friends, listening to a great Rolling Stones cover band and dancing the night away.”  


Yucaipa City Council and Director of Community Development Paul Toomey welcomed the crowd on Friday night at the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center outdoor stage, where most of the weekend’s activities took place.

Following a rousing rendition of the national anthem, Mayor Bobby Duncan welcomed the crowd.

“Your city council and city staff, chamber of commerce and uptown business association work hard to put this on,” he said. “We love our city and we love our citizens. We are always working to make Yucaipa better.”

Duncan also spoke about the devastating fire in Calimesa. He asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandalwood Fire.

Lynryd Skynryd and Jumpin’ Jack Flash

The free entertainment was fantastic Friday night at AutumnFest. Yucaipa Youth Rockin’ Studio warmed up the lively crowd with a good mix of tunes. The students put on a great show to open up for SouthBound and Company, who performed their tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd called Skynyrd and Frynds. The band was on fire playing hit after hit of Skynyrd songs while throwing in tunes from bands like The Allman Brothers and Molly Hatchet.

“It was such a great show,” said Holly Davis, of Ontario. “It was our first time to the Performing Arts Center, the band was amazing.”

The band finished up the set with a smoking rendition of “Freebird” that left the audience cheering for an encore.

Lead singer Darryl Reed of Riverside said, “Freebird is kinda hard to follow up, but we will give it a try.”

Saturday nights Rolling Stones tribute band, Jumpin’ Jack Flash was another crowd pleaser. From the lead vocalist enteracting with the audience, to the large group of dancers, it was another fun night.

Classic Car Show

The 2019 Car Show and Show’ N’ Go at Yucaipa’s AutmnFest was a hit with the crowd. There were many jaw-dropping restored classic cars to gaze at and dream that they were yours. Hours and hours go into restoring these cars, and it is no wonder the crowd loves this event. There were classic roadsters, 57 Chevy’s, coupes, Mustangs, Camaros, Novas, and more. The event was free and concluded with a cruise around the roundabout. Fans of the cars lined up to take a peek.

Beer garden

St. Frances X. Cabrini Church located at 12687 California St, Yucaipa, Council #9579, sponsored a beer garden which offered various micro, nanos, domestic and import beers, as well as a variety of wines with Red Blend, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Moscato, and Pinot Grigio at the 2019 Yucaipa AutumnFest.

One of the members, JR Cruz, said, “Entire families come with grandparents, mothers, fathers, just whole families. It is a blessing to provide a safe place for the community for almost 30 years and we enjoy working to help families in our community.”

Dietrich Rubelius, District Marshal Emeritus, as well as parliamentarian and council founder said, “It is an honor and blessing to help the city and support the community with a number of charities that the Knights of Columbus are involved in. Proceeds stay in the community and support children and the proceeds for this event goes to help the charities for whatever they may need.”

Pie eating contest

The annual pie eating contest which was organized by the Yucaipa Valley Kiwanis Club and was held on the main stage at the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center. There were three events including one event with Youth ages 5-10, and two events with teens ages 11-17 and adults ages 18 and over.

Megan Wolfe, Director of Community Services, said, “the Kiwanis Club have had this event for eight years for our home town celebration. The nonprofit felt that there’s nothing like a pie eating contest for a good old hometown event.” Those who observed this fun event certainly agreed.

Before the event started 10-year-olds Jasmine Martinez and her friend Ray Lomeli agreed that the event sounded like it would be fun and they had never participated before.

The pie eating contest official judge, Paul Toomey, announced the rules to all the contestants and to those in the audience. “No hands so hands behind your back. No. 2, First to devour with least mess or most devoured within the time limit. No. 3, You have 30 seconds,” said Toomey.

The winner of the first event was 7-year-old Kayleah Maduena. The winners of the second event, as it was a tie, were 12-year-old Richard Garza, who said he gained his experience by “eating too much” and Harry Moore IV who said his son Harry Moore V was in the first event. The winners of the third event were 8-year-olds Walker Coursey who said he gained his experience “by it coming naturally” and Brayden Montgomery, who said he gained his experience “from training.”

Art activities

VisionQuest and Uptown Art Gallery located at 35157 Yucaipa Blvd. in Yucaipa shared the fun activity of bringing out the artist in all ages at the annual AutumnFest on Friday and Saturday evening, Oct. 11 and 12, in front of its gallery for a fun Paint Night and crafts for all ages. Those who wanted to paint on canvas created a fall scene with a sunflower and pumpkin and those who didn’t, painted with watercolor to create a picture or two and some even used tissue to create a Jack-o-lantern.

“We have lots of classes for adults and children ranging from ceramics to watercolor to basic art for adults,” said paint instructor Daryl Bryan.

Angela Greco instructed the children’s class for the evening. “We have a lot of helpers tonight with the YHS High School Leos and Inland Leaders Charter School.”

Karen Lesondak and her friend Debbie Dahlin enjoy doing activities together. Lesondak said she “signed up for this class when I found it on Facebook.” She has been coming to AutumnFest and the Musica and Arts Festival since the very beginning. “I like to support the local events. I’ve never done this event before and I’m so excited.” 

Off-Road and Flag Run

New to AutumnFest this year was the Off Road and Flag Run on Saturday afternoon. Most of the off-road vehicles that took laps up and down Yucaipa Boulevard were adorned with flags.

“We just wanted to show off our pride of being American,” said John Slate, a local business owner who coordinated the event for AutumnFest.

Slate, who owns Patriot Performance automotive store, said he hopes the Jeeps, trucks and Baja Bugs with their big tires and off-road shocks become more of an attraction at local events, including AutumnFest.

Haunted House

Jolly Jumps has been scaring AutumnFest visitors for three years now. This year the house was bigger and scarier then ever.

“We designed this house just for festival type events and the public is really screaming through it,” said Josh Paul of Jolly Jumps.

Green Valley student Hunter Dent enjoyed watching his friends get scared, “It was really fun and it freaked a lot of my friends out.”

Kids zone

The kids zone is always a popular area of AutumnFest. This year the zone featured five different jumpers and houses including a pirate ship and fun city.

“We have five houses and jumpers this year and it has been incredibly popular. A lot of our guests have really enjoyed it,” said Danielle Piccolo, senior building attendant for the city of Yucaipa.

Costume contest

Superwoman, Little Orphan Annie, a cowboy and a raptor rider were a few of the clever and inventive costumes on display Saturday afternoon at the Kids Costume Contest.

About a dozen children competed in each of three age groups for the title of Most Creative or Cutest or Funniest.

“What happened to scariest?” Paul Toomey, Yucaipa’s director of Community Development who emceed the contest, asked the panel of local judges.

In the 3-and-under age group, an adorable baby kitten and tiny scarecrow took home Cutest and Most Creative, respectively.

“Our friend made her costume,” mom Breanna Keil said about her little scarecrow Reese, who wore a straw hat with long strands of raffia hanging down.

The whole family was planning on dressing up as scarecrows when they camp at Calico Ghost Town for Halloween, she said.

“We like to get a couple of uses out of it before Halloween,” Breanna Keil said about the cute overall-and-tutu combination her 3-year-old wore.

In the 4 to 7 years age group, a Candy Lane girl captured Most Creative and a box of Fruit Loops cereal was Funniest.

In the 8 to 12 years age group, Hailey Landingham won Most Creative, as a beautiful peacock, while Ryder Parton was Funniest as a Nerf gun target.

“It was cool and fun,” Ryder said after entering the contest, a target still painted on his face.

Hailey’s mom Anne came up with the peacock idea while watching “The Masked Singer” show on TV.

“I thought it would be a fun costume to make,” Anne Landingham said about seeing a similar costume in season 1.

Hailey also like the idea.

“It’s cute,” she said.

Dog costumes

Rukus, Maggie and Karra were the three brave pups entered in the Dog Costume Contest. Dressed as a scarecrow to match with owner Reese Keil, Rukus finished first, with candy corn Karra in second and Maggie the witch placing third.


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