Monday, October 3, 2011
When the Tisbert family, owners of Valley Dream Organic Produce Farm, announced one sunny August afternoon that they'd always wanted to sponsor some sort of festival, I didn't allow them to think twice. I jumped in and said "I'll take care of it" and away we went. Not two months later the family and I stood in a vast hay-field in the rain ... shivering ... freezing our butts off ... and grinning ear to ear. Success. Rainy, freezy, fabulous success! Now I'm well aware that everyone in town isn't necessarily living the organic lifestyle. Actually, according to treehugger.com only 58% of consumers prefer organic foods, and only about half of that actually go so far as to purchase organic foods. (Sorry for the factoid - I was honestly curious) Anyone who attended the festival will tell you, this wasn't some crunchy granola sales pitch trying to push the organic lifestyle. No - this was a big fat fabulous party designed to celebrate something that is very important to the Tisbert family and incidentally has become very important to me: supporting local growers, local businesses, local artists.
Despite unconscionably low temperatures, constant drizzle and plenty of mud, nearly 20 local vendors showed up to make the best of what the festival had to offer. On a poor-weather day like this, vendor and entertainment no shows are usually an event's greatest downfall. Not in this case. I was thrilled and amazed to see 90% of our vendors turn out, and both entertainers - despite the misery of the situation. Every one of them put on a wide smile (and a pair of muck boots)and got to work setting out their wares, whether it be canned produce, steaming hot beverages or hand-made arts and crafts. TWO woodworkers arrived, both setting up shop with extensive furniture displays as well as workbenches and tools. I was amazed to see the lengths to which each of our event vendors went to make the best of the day and provide the best experience for those brave souls who arrived to partake in the festivities.
Speaking of brave souls - did you SEE the Potato Sack Fashion Show!? The rivalry was narrowed to only the most serious of competitors - an ice cold downpour will do that - and the competition was on. From hand-sewn purses and hairbands to a wedding gown with a train, each of our fashion show entrants gave it their all and had an absolute blast doing it. It was SO HARD choosing just one winner and one runner up - I wanted to award everyone for their hard work and dedication! Special thanks to everyone who struggled through cutting and stitching that miserable itchy burlap - even if you didn't make it to the show.
Peter "Professor Fairbanks" Miller strummed a wicked fiddle - he's my new favorite musician. Tammy Fletcher rocked the house. It was fabulous to see community members Deb Nevil and Stephen Morabito out there cuttin' the ... grass, and enjoying the music. Raffle prizes were awarded to ecstatic neighbors, contest winners jumped for joy - applesauce everywhere, by the way.
Despite the understandably low attendance - we saw roughly 80 people that day, everyone involved is raring to get involved again next year. Will there be a next year? Do you even need to ask?