PIEDMONT -- Bill Drum was more than the co-founder of Piedmont's annual Harvest Festival. He was its face.

Attired in a needlepoint, autumn-themed vest -- even on steamy hot Sunday afternoons -- the avuncular Drum would attend to the vegetable-growing contest, edibles tables and school scarecrow display each year. Those with ideas for what to add to the event from year to year, be it a jazz band or a children's carnival, ran them past Drum.

"He was always at the forefront," said former Mayor Susan Hill, who co-founded the event with Drum in 1999. "He loved the community, and he wanted the Harvest Festival to reflect the community."

Drum, who died in January at age 73, will be remembered at Sunday's festival with a sweepstakes award named in his honor for the family who submits the most number of entries in the edibles contest. The award will become a permanent plaque in City Hall.

In addition to founding the festival, Drum was a member of the Piedmont Education Foundation, as well as an oversight committee to rebuild elementary schools and a parcel tax campaign for schools.

Jerry Miller, chair of the Harvest Festival, said Drum's humble vision of neighbors celebrating their backyard bounties at the beginning of each autumn has grown into a not-to-be-missed tradition that highlights a multitude of talents from around Piedmont.

"If anything, the festival has revealed, as well as encouraged, the realization that we overwhelmingly have a shared value in these farming and other community interests," Miller said.

The festival will begin with the edibles contest inside the Piedmont Community Center at 711 Highland Ave. Residents bring their pumpkins, zucchinis, tomatoes and other homegrown items to be judged alongside prepared foods such as jams, pickled vegetables, pestos, pies and salsas.

Contest judges are: Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka, City Administrator Geoff Grote, Erich Horn, Councilman Garrett Keating, Matt Kellogg, Nick Levinson, Councilman Bob McBain, Steve Mills, Sara Pearson, Lisa Rossi, Paula Silver, Mira Tellegen, Jean Wieler, Councilman Jeff Wieler and Caroline Wong.

In the plaza, the Village Market will host a farmers market featuring heirloom tomatoes, apples, gourds and other produce. There also will be grilled sandwiches, salads and desserts to buy, as well as the famous fresh-squeezed lemonade made from lemons grown right in Piedmont.

Festival organizers also have brought back the Fix-It Clinic, where visitors can bring in their broken appliances or electronics to have them examined. There also will be public safety exhibits, a children's carnival, a raffle and a scarecrow display put on by Piedmont students.

Jazz will begin in the park around 10:30 a.m. and continue past 3 p.m. There also will be free bicycle parking to encourage visitors to ride to the event. Hill said the well-attended festival is a far cry from what some residents first expected when she and Drum established it.

"There was a lot of reluctance; vegetables were seen as a lower-class (gardening) effort in Piedmont," she said. "Most people didn't believe us when we said there were a lot of growers."

But Hill said the festival, even as it morphed into a larger community event, "was exactly what we have hoped for."

IF YOU GO
What: Piedmont Harvest Festival
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Piedmont Community Center, 711 Highland Ave.
Cost: Free
Information: www.piedmontharvestfestival.org