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Harvest Fair : Big event returns to Johnson Farm
The Harvest Fair is the island’s way of celebrating the final sun setting on the summer season while welcoming the colorful weeks of fall.
It’s a time to honor, and remember, the island’s farming heritage — and taste what the island has to offer.
“The Harvest Fair is a gathering of people from the community who want to celebrate sustainable living,” said Wendy Tyner of Friends of the Farms, the nonprofit that organizes the event.
“It really honors the culture of this community,” she added. “We really believe in a healthy community and we can show our young children that this is a way of life.”
The island fair is well beyond its teenage years, and is now in its 26th edition. It is put on by more than 200 island volunteers.
“It’s not a cookie-cutter festival,” Tyner said.
“It’s unique to this community. It’s not a county fair, it’s not a high-end fair,” she said. “It’s very down-home, practical and relaxed.”
In addition to meeting local farmers and master gardeners, islanders can ride on a “land slide” or hop a lift on a tractor. If tractor rides are full, ponies and horse-drawn wagons will also be available.
This year’s fair will feature a beer garden to compliment appetizing local fare. If beer isn’t preferred, islanders can bring their own apples to learn how to make apple cider in the orchard on the farm.
Sheep will be sheared and faces will be painted — and that’s still not all.
Islanders who wish to show off their farming chops can enter the biggest zucchini contest by 3 p.m.
Those who think their skills in the kitchen are a force to be reckoned with can go up against their island neighbors in the fair’s pie contest. Contestants must register their pie by 11:30 a.m. Registration forms are available at the front desk of Bainbridge Bakers in Winslow, via email from firstname.lastname@example.org, or just show up before the registration deadline at the fair.
“The pie contest is a contest of amateur bakers that submit their pies against a broad range of categories,” said Mike Louden of Bainbridge Bakers, organizer of the pie contest.
Islanders can submit their pies in any one or all of the contest categories: best fruit, best cream, best savory, best local ingredients, best junior, best original, best crust, most beautiful, and best in show.
The HeyDay Farm will donate a turkey and a 25-pound ham to be raffled off, in addition to two baskets filled with treasures from local businesses.
HeyDay prides itself on the food it offers.
“Our animals are all raised on pasture,” said HeyDay farmer Alice Skipton. “They eat GMO-free organic grains grown in Washington.”
“It’s a totally different product,” she added. “With the turkeys, the dark meat is especially dark, and there is a higher flavor.”
Shuttle service will be available for the Harvest Fair, and will run from the ferry terminal and from Bethany Lutheran and Strawberry Hill Park.