Celebrating our 10th Annual Fall Harvest Festival

Posted by on Oct 24, 2019 | Comments Off on Celebrating our 10th Annual Fall Harvest Festival

Celebrating our 10th Annual Fall Harvest Festival

Fall is a season naturally inclined towards celebration: it’s a time of bounty in the gardens, high energy in our schools, and a collective sigh of relief when the heat of summer finally breaks. It’s a season of food and community, and the Fall Harvest Festival at Buford exemplifies all these things in one evening of community fun, food and relaxation. While the Festival takes place all in one evening, it is actually a month-long program that includes the Family and Consumer Science (FACS) Veggie Cook-Off Competition, PE, ESOL, and Garden Aide garden preparation, planting and repairs, AVID and Civics Pre-Festival Community Service, and the Festival itself.

Programming begins the second week of school, as Marcy Wisbauer’s Year-Long Family and Consumer Science (FACS) 8th Graders select recipes, taste test recipes, decide on team names, and prepare food for 500 students for the Veggie Cook-Off Competition.  This year, The Tomato Tornadoes prepared tomato pie and fire-roasted tomato quesadillas for the Buford student body to try. Students voted on the dish they want served at the Festival: tomato quesadillas! The winning dish was then prepared by the generous folks over at Continental Divide.

While the FACS class is hard at work cooking, the PE, ESOL and Garden Aide classes are busy planting and preparing the fall garden and getting ready for the over 500 Charlottesville students, families, and community members that come to the Festival each year. The season’s dry, hot weather made the work repetitive and difficult, but students persevered and insured the garden was a thriving, welcoming space in time for the event.

The day of the Harvest Festival is full of excitement. To harness that energy, set up the school for the event, support students in staying for the Festival and meeting their Civics class requirement, City Schoolyard Garden staff and Buford teachers engage over 60 youth in two hours of community service all around the middle school.  This year, Civics and AVID students made garden signs for our elementary school gardens, shoveled, raked and mulched the nature trail through the woods beyond the playing field, moved tables, laid out table cloths, hung banners and signage, sidewalk chalked and cleaned up the campus, set up activities and games for the festival, and helped take care of every other conceivable detail required for such an event.  We are especially grateful to our CSG staff and CCS teachers who supervised community service projects and activities during the event, including: Jordan Johnson, Sarah Wayne, 

Rick Harden, Yolonda Adams, Candace Saunders, Sean Harding, Emily Caldwell, Michelle Bambury, Christa Slotboom, Andrew Carey, Lauralee Watlock, Lisa Dreyer, Alicia Tobin, Sherry Bryant, Zora Heard, Samantha D’Alessio, Andrea Arango, David Witt, Melvin Grady, and Anne Kinsley. Thank you!!

This year the event expanded to include more student-led activities and games. 8th grade AVID students planned and led a variety of games for all ages on the football field, including tug-o-war, sack races and parachute games. Shout out to the PE department and the Boys and Girls Club for helping us source equipment! The CATEC Food Bus was another new and exciting addition this year, serving up delicious soups and smoothies out of their modified school bus. Thank you Chef Carol Robbs and the whole CATEC culinary program, the food bus was a huge hit with students and adults alike!

Eventually the music starts, and the rest you can see for yourself in the photos below. It really is a magical night.