Harvest Party serves up fun, food for Good Cheer Food Bank

Good Cheer is kicking off its 50th birthday celebration with a party for the whole community. The fourth annual Good Cheer Harvest Party & Music Fest is from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Good Cheer Bayview Campus.

The theme of this year’s event is “celebration of the harvest.” The nonprofit organization is inviting the community to enjoy the gardens and celebrate the group’s 50 years of service to South Whidbey. Good Cheer was founded in 1962 and was the first service nonprofit on the South End.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Good Cheer’s 50th birthday celebration,” said Kathy McLaughlin McCabe, Good Cheer’s executive director.

In celebration of the harvest, local chefs will prepare delicious dishes, and each recipe will highlight an ingredient picked from a Good Cheer garden.

The Celebration of the Harvest food booths will include Kym Saephan of Whidbey Rice, and Dan Saul, the Soup Man at CMA’s soup kitchen. Bobby Cressman, Good Cheer’s food bank apprentice, will head up a group of Good Cheer volunteers including Sydney Hoffman, Chuck Flannery-Jones and others to showcase new recipes highlighting the garden harvest.

The Taco Bar will return again this year and soda floats will be for sale. Good Cheer volunteers will receive a ticket for a free drink and taco.

Throughout the event, cooking demonstrations will show people how to create delicious meals with garden produce.

Local musicians will keep the festival rocking, including Karin Blaine, Pete Keating’s Dandelion Family String Band, Piper Reva and Janie & Joe.

Whidbey Island’s Conductor of Fun, Jim Freeman, will emcee the festivities.

The event will begin just as the Bayview Farmers Market is coming to a close.

“So do some shopping at the market, and then come on over to Good Cheer,” McLaughlin McCabe said.

The day will be filled with a variety of activities for the whole family. Activities for children include a children’s story booth hosted by Sno-Isle Library; Garden Art Family Fun with Allie Urbanek, garden apprentice; as well as tile painting, garden bingo and Good Cheer Olympics.

A gardening class entitled Growing Groceries will be taught by Good Cheer garden volunteer coordinator Cary Peterson, and will start at 1 p.m.

Special guest Ed Hume, author, gardening personality, and founder of Ed Hume Seeds, will make an appearance. The seed company has been a supporter of the Good Cheer garden, providing packets of seeds to help get the garden started, and to share with food bank clients. Hume will be on hand to sign books, including his newest title, “Gardening with Ed Hume: Northwest Gardening Made Easy.”

At 4:15 p.m., guests can get the scoop on worms and learn how to make great vermicastings.

The 50th Anniversary Dessert Contest is set for 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Create a pie, a cake, cupcakes and cookies and enter it to win. All entries receive a $10 Good Cheer Thrift Store gift certificate, with a grand prize going to the winner.

An auction and raffle will round out the fun.

“Our staff and volunteers worked hard to make this yet another great event for all of South Whidbey,” McLaughlin McCabe said.

Admission is free.

For questions or to volunteer, call Shawn Nowlin, Good Cheer’s outreach coordinator, at 221-0130.