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Harvest Fair rings in the new season

Earlier this month, volunteers of all ages worked to get Johnson Farm trimmed, weeded, and apple picked in preparation for the island’s annual Harvest Fair. Visitors to the fair on Sept. 29 will have the opportunity to participate in the apple cider press made from Johnson Farm apples. - Rick Gordon photo
Earlier this month, volunteers of all ages worked to get Johnson Farm trimmed, weeded, and apple picked in preparation for the island’s annual Harvest Fair. Visitors to the fair on Sept. 29 will have the opportunity to participate in the apple cider press made from Johnson Farm apples.
— image credit: Rick Gordon photo

It’s not quite fall until the Harvest Fair says it is.

This weekend will be the 27th annual jamboree to kick off the new season.

“It’s a real community event,” said Wendy Tyner of Friends of the Farms, the nonprofit organizing the event. “It’s so fun to have so many people there and children of all ages.”

This year’s Harvest Fair will bring in the season’s turning of the leaves, chilly breeze and, of course, harvest with some of America’s fair favorites plus some.

There will be pony rides, sheep shearing, tractor rides, apple cider pressing, face painting, a pie baking contest and live music.

New on the list of things happening this year, is the scarecrow design contest. Registered participants have displayed their scarecrows around town throughout September. The winners will finally be announced at the Harvest Fair.

The Harvest Fair isn’t complete without activities for the whole family. A mini farmers market and vendors will ensure farm fresh and local food. Booths of various nonprofit organizations will give visitors the chance to discuss agriculture, farming, education and sustainability. A beer and wine garden sponsored by Hales Ale will also be open for adults.

For the past 26 years, Harvest Fair has paid homage to Bainbridge’s farming legacy. This year will be no different.

“It’s a place to honor the heritage of agriculture and celebrate the future of farming and local food,” she said.

As publicly-owned farmland, Johnson Farm offers Harvest Fair visitors 15 acres of orchards, pea patches, recreational trails and more. Over the years, it has proven a prime spot for the fair’s activities.

“[The fair has grown] by the number of food vendors, by the number of nonprofits, by the number of children, and yet it’s very intimate,” Tyner explained.

“It doesn’t feel like you have to wait too long in any line. You can walk around the farm, and it’s a pleasant place to be,” she added.

Over the past month, more than 100 volunteers showed up to help prepare the land for visitors at the Friends of the Farms’ annual work party.

“It’s a real community event in that people from all over the island loan tents and tables, and that’s made it a very successful, inclusive event,” Tyner said.

The Harvest Fair has had a little help from their friends Bainbridge Homes Real Estate, Bainbridge Organic Distillers, Ridell Williams P.S., Island Cool, Bainbridge Gardens, Brown Bear Car Wash, ACE Hardware, The Trust for Public Land, Guy Dunn Accounting and The Clean Center.

Johnson Farm will open its gates from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 for the Harvest Fair.

Shuttles will be available beginning at 11:15 a.m. to and from the Seattle ferry and will also have pick-ups at Bethany Lutheran Church and Strawberry Hill Park. The last shuttle will return to the ferry terminal at 5 p.m.

The event suggests a donation of $5 for individuals and $20 for families. This year, visitors can also purchase unlimited rides and attractions for $12. Donations will go to Friends of the Farm for their work in agriculture advocacy and sustainability.

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