Harvest Fest 2018

written by Jennifer Gessner & Rachel Damiani, on behalf of the Parent Engagement Group

“Our Favorite Fall Things”
(To the tune of Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things”)

Hot soup in the cauldron
and painting on faces
pumpkins and gourds and wide open spaces
Sounds of the music the whole school can sing
These are a few of our favorite fall things.

Our school all together
exploring new places
crowns made of leaves and sticky caramel faces
Sharing the veggies and bread that we bring
These are a few of our favorite fall things.

When the soup boils
When the bread breaks
When I’m feeling glad,
I simply remember the Harvest Fest
And all of the fun we’ve had!

This year's Harvest Festival was the largest Great River School celebration to date. With our new space, we were able to gather as a whole community to celebrate the bounty of the harvest season. Old friends and new enjoyed arts and crafts activities, shopped the bounty gathered from the Adolescents’ trip to Buttermilk Farms, and made good use of the bounce houses and Gaga pit, all while the soup cooked away in the large cauldron. Harvest Fest was a great opportunity to connect with the community and share an afternoon of fun, food and frolic, while amazing music from our very talented students filled the air. The GRS Harvest Fest is a wonderful tradition that allows us to reflect on the gift of community and wonderment of how, together, our individual contributions can make a feast.

A very special thanks to all of the staff and volunteers that helped to make the Harvest Festival such a great success! Our fearless leader, Rachel, worked tirelessly to coordinate all of the logistics to make this event happen. In addition, there were SO many people--students, families, and staff alike--who dedicated time, energy, and resources to make this incredible day possible. Thank you to co-coordinators Monique, Holly, Jennifer and Jessica. You guys were the best team in making sure this event went smoothly! Thank you to Jenny, Jim, and Zack for pulling off such a special music set that included a community sing-a-long, GRS student and student alumni band Why Not, and professional Congolese musicians Salima & Dallas. Thank you also to Jim and Mary for saving the soup! (You guys know what I'm talking about!) Thank you Scott and the forestry occupation for setting up the straw bales and pumpkins and preparing farmstand items for sale. Thank you to Tami and the 9th & 10th graders who performed admirable community service during Harvest Fest. The event would not have been the same without your participation! Thank you to the 6th Bridge students who cleaned and prepped veggies for the soup! Thank you to all the students who harvested the pumpkins and veggies at the farm, and brought your homemade goods to the festival! Thank you to Scott Brown of The Accounting Group for sponsoring the hours of "free babysitting," aka bouncy houses. Thanks to Stacey for being our official Harvest Fest photographer. Thank you to Charlie and Jennifer for getting the word out about this event, resulting in such a great turnout! We had two amazing chefs who raised our soup experience to new levels--Kristin and Lisa--and many prep chefs too! Thank you so much to all the PEG Ambassadors who put in extra volunteer time before, during and after the event. Thank you so much to the setup and cleanup crews - you guys made the place look so beautiful to start and made sure every last piece of debris was picked up at the end!

Thank you to everyone who came out just to enjoy the event and be a part of the celebration!

If you have any feedback about this event or are interested in volunteering for this and other school events, please email: peg@greatriverschool.org.