It was a fun-filled day in New Denver on Sept. 30 as residents of the community and surrounding area gathered at Lucerne Elementary Secondary School for the annual harvest festival.
Walking up to the school, music could be heard from some distance away. Part of the street was blocked off for a zucchini race, one of several activities to take place throughout the morning.
The festival first happened in 2008, when the first harvest from the school garden took place.
“After the establishment of the school garden, we decided we needed something to bring everyone together to celebrate the bounty of the garden, said Julia Greenlaw, the festival’s organizer.
Throughout the festival, various games and activities took place, with the students divided up into five school teams, each one spending time at each station.
Every year the stations are a little different.
This year, there were zucchini races, farm animals and games, a display area with crafts, dancing, and garden clean up, planting, and composting.
Garden clean up involved harvesting the vegetables from the garden, clearing away the left over vines, pods, stalks, husks, and more. Everything goes into the school’s compost, which is then spread back onto the garden.
The highlight of the festival took place early in the afternoon: getting a chance to eat soup that was prepared using many of the vegetables from the school garden.
The smell of garlic and onions was heavy in the air as the soups were prepared.
Three soups were made this year, a harvest vegetable, chowder with bacon, and Russian borscht, each one looking mouth wateringly delicious.
The festival proved to be a hit with students and residents alike.
“It’s nice for the kids to have a chance to kind of connect with the food aspect of this community, which is a big thing,” said Chillia Zoll, one of the many parents in attendance. “It’s just a great event for the kids to kind of be together in this setting.”
Student Sakura Azzopardi agreed.
“I think it’s really important to have a day where everybody can get together and spend time together,” she said. They can share and show everybody how their garden is doing, show their best vegetables, and share the things they really like to do.”
Though the festival has just finished, everyone seems to be already looking forward to the one next year.