Fall is my favorite season…the air turns crisp, the trees become dappled in a rainbow of reds, oranges, and yellows, and the harvest begins. Even when the Community Harvest Festival was a small germ of an idea earlier this year, I was so excited for it to come to fruition. Not only would it celebrate my favorite season, but the event would be a joint effort of many community organizations, something my idealistic nature applauds.
So, it was with a happy heart I set out Saturday morning to put together the LGMSD table and the toy raffle (with donations from Clanktronix). Mary Ann and Arlan had already set up the table at Adams and Depot, and we pulled it together to give us a modest but respectable presence at the Community Harvest Festival. It was a bluebird day and people began to arrive with small children in tow.
We were next to the Optimist Club, whose contribution to the CHF was having kids decorate the lampposts with fall-themed items
They also had a football toss set up on Adams, which attracted young and old, accurate and not so much (but nonetheless enthusiastic)!
A little ways down Adams, the Lions Club had a Pepsi Wagon to slake the thirst of all of those expending physical energy on the Hay Maze and the pumpkin giveaway provided by the La Grande Parks and Recreation Department. Nearby, the Soroptimist Club provided apple slices and caramels to add to the fall ambience. The Rotary Club hosted a noncompetitive cornhole experience, which I did not even try because cornhole is not the activity that depth perception-challenged folks take on. Capping the east end of Adams was the Soap Box Derby course, overseen by Paul Sadler and his able assistants. I didn’t have a go because the lines were formidable and, much to my delight, mostly populated by preteen girls. I just loved that!
I meandered back to the LGMSD table. Our raffle tickets were selling well and I enjoyed seeing all of the children cajoling their parents into supporting LGMSD so they could acquire the train set, the dollhouse, and the other toys on offer. They were just too cute!
Next, I took on the other half of Adams. Becky’s Burger Wagon was at Adams and Depot, and across Adams was Ohana Sweet Shop – Shaved Ice. Although the food and treats were tempting, I refrained (the gluten thing). The street was replete with service vehicles—fire trucks and police cars—that the young ones could clamber over and interact with.
There were also vehicles from Northeast Oregon Transit, Bowman Trucking, and Mid-Columbia Bus (plus just the most adorable remote controlled “baby bus”). Closest to the LGMSD table, CHD and Community Connections had their vehicles and representatives giving out information.
At Adams and 4th, Market Place Fresh Foods had a food setup offering kabobs, and I did indulge (no bread involved). There was also a petting zoo from Summerville Stables. I did pet a goat and a sheep, and observed a very sleepy white kitten in the arms of a small girl. Nature's Pantry had a whole band playing Christian music with a singer at Adams and Washington. Throughout the afternoon, the old fire truck drove captivated kids throughout downtown.
A full day…and it was not over. The Union County Chamber of Commerce’s Chili Cook Off was next up. I didn’t have a chance to participate, but Mary Ann reported on all of the fun. Justin Rock and Dave Glabe of the La Grande City Council took first place and RE/MAX Real Estate came in second. The People’s Choice Award went to the Danny Roberts Family from Elgin.
What a great time! It was just wonderful seeing kids of all ages being kids. The best part, however, was the level and scope of cooperation that various organizations and businesses throughout La Grande demonstrated to bring a day of fun to our community. Hats off to (in no particular order) the Lions Club, the Optimist Club, Soroptimist International of La Grande, the Rotary Club, Union County Chamber of Commerce, the La Grande Parks and Recreation Department, and LGMSD. The Community Harvest Festival is destined to become an annual fall tradition downtown!
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