OTTAWA -- Families and residents in Arnprior, Ont., Ottawa, and the valley are invited to partake in Arnprior's third annual Fall Fest.

The event put on by the Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce was created to encourage residents to support local businesses.

Executive Director Danielle Delaney says following the success of Fall Fest last year despite the pandemic, they decided to expand the event from a single night.

"This year we've realized how much of a struggle small businesses have had, and we wanted to expand the reach beyond just the retail," says Delaney. "So this year we have three different days - Thursday, Friday, Saturday - and each day has a different focus on business."

Thursday evening retail businesses in the downtown core will stay open late and offer special sales and deals.

Friday is date night themed, with Arnprior's O'Brien Theatre offering a free movie with proof of purchase of dinner from a local restaurant. Saturday features family events and activities with crafts for kids at Arnprior's museum, a scavenger hunt throughout the downtown shops, and a bake off featuring local bakeries.

Delaney says many festivals throughout the valley promoting small businesses are held around this time to help fill the lull between the summer and Christmas tourism seasons.

"Going much later into the year, it's getting too dark, it's more difficult for people to get out and about," says Delaney, on why now is the right time to drive people out to small business.

"Kids are back in school now, families are looking for those activities to be able to do together."

More information on Arnprior's Fall Fest can be found on the chamber of commerce's event page.