Arts and Entertainment

Harvest Party and Music Fest at Good Cheer Food Bank

Good Cheer Food Bank
Good Cheer Food Bank's garden is full of leafy greens and other healthy treats for customers.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Good Cheer

Nothing like burning a bridge to make the day complete.

That’s exactly what the good folks at Good Cheer will do on Saturday. They’ll burn the bridge-loan papers in a dramatic gesture that signifies the organization’s true ownership of the Bayview property that houses the food bank and donation drop-off warehouse.

It’s been a banner year for Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores, having completed Phase One of a capital campaign that has raised

$1 million of a $1,400,527 goal. That’s cause for celebration, certainly, and the Good Cheer staff is ready to party.

More than 20 local musicians will perform on an outdoor stage at Good Cheer’s first annual Harvest Party and Music Fest on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview. Jim Freeman, Whidbey’s “Conductor of Fun,” will emcee the event.

Later that evening, the party continues with a benefit dance at Bayview Hall, featuring Nzira Marimba from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and the Dark Horse Band from 9 to 11 p.m.

The Harvest Party and Music Fest is Good Cheer’s way of thanking the community for the major milestones the organization has had lately.

Good Cheer’s executive director Kathy McLaughlin said she plans to add another 47 years to the organization’s life span. With the success of Phase One and their sights set on Phase Two — the remodeling of the Langley thrift store — McLaughlin is confident Good Cheer will continue to thrive.

Phase One not only saw the expansion of the Good Cheer Food Bank, but also the added benefit of it’s bountiful garden in the front yard which provides fresh food to bank customers.

“When I first started with Good Cheer, it was my dream to help create a place for our food bank clients that was safe and provided anonymity,” McLaughlin said.

“I believe that with the food bank in Bayview we have fulfilled that goal. Secondly, we wanted to be able to provide choice. Part of that choice, we knew, was to include healthy food. The Bayview site allowed us to build our community garden, which provides us the best of choice — fresh fruit and vegetables.”

Good Cheer’s new garden, designed and managed by Cary Peterson and volunteers, has received rave reviews from gardening aficionados. Visitors will be able to tour the garden and ask questions of staff and volunteers. Staff will also provide tours of the Good Cheer Food Bank throughout the day.

Free community workshops include how to build an herbal gift basket, making garden signs and garden sculptures out of recycled items, building musical instruments out of recycled items, learning the fine art of composting, attracting wild birds and making a rag rug out of old shirts. These activities will be held throughout the day, along with a variety of demonstrations on how to cook nutritious food without breaking the bank.

And for those who are feeling peckish during the festivities, several local nonprofits will be cooking up their favorite recipes for sale to hungry visitors.

A silent auction of garden-themed items will be presented by Good Cheer’s board of directors and the talented quilters of Trinity Lutheran Church have made a garden quilt to be raffled off to benefit Good Cheer’s garden.

This year’s Harvest Party poster by local artist Kathy Marshall will be for sale, as well as children’s note cards and Harvest Party related items.

Jam makers are encouraged to enter their best jams in the jam- judging contest. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for any Good Cheer Thrift Store. Entry instructions are available on Good Cheer’s Web site and at its thrift stores.

The event is an encouragement for the community to keep the food bank and thrift stores moving forward and doing what it does best.

“Good Cheer is not dependent on federal or state funding, which is unique compared to other food banks both locally and nationally,” McLaughlin said.

“Good Cheer Thrift Stores provide 63 percent of their food-bank funding.”

“With the completion of Phase Two of the capital campaign, we will remodel Good Cheer’s Langley Thrift Store. An elevator and the opening of the upstairs for retail will allow us to remain self-sustaining for years to come. We have been operating for 47 years, and we continue to plan for our next 47 years,” she added.

Visitors who wish to stay awhile to listen to the music are encouraged to bring a blanket for the lawn or folding chairs, although hay bales will also be available for seating.

Tickets are $5 for an individual ticket; $10 for a family (or $12 at the door), and are available at all Good Cheer Thrift Stores, the food bank in Bayview and the Paint Escape in Freeland.

A schedule of events is posted at Good Cheer’s Web site;click here.

Good Cheer Food Bank is at 2812 Grimm Road in Bayview, just down the street from Bayview Community Hall.

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