by Seth Wright, Farm Shop Team Member, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
Education, family fun, music and food were all a part of the celebration at the 26th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival which took place October 5th at Full Belly Farm. This year, the Festival attracted more than 5,000 people, all of them prepared to kick their heels up, put the hoes down, and celebrate the close of summer and its bountiful harvest.
Hoes Down is a participatory event and one of its most important aspects is a commitment to educating people about agriculture and rural life. Many hands-on workshops were held throughout the day with a skill and knowledge building goal in mind. They covered topics such as beekeeping, seed saving, cheese making, composting, greenhouse propagation and much more. These workshops encouraged participants to take the lessons learned and make them apart of their lives at home.
Kids also participate and learn at the Hoes Down. One of the main attractions at the expansive Children’s Area is the Grain to Bread exhibit. At this showcase, children participated in all the steps involved in turning grain into flour and finally into bread. Another exhibit, Sheep to Shawl, taught children about shearing sheep and then got them involved in the process of creating textiles, which included spinning, knitting, and a loom.
Family friendly fun is another important aspect of the Hoes Down. There is a circus: Circus Bella. It was a must see at the Hoes Down this year and was definitely one of the highlights of the festival. It featured two clowns, a mono-cyclist, a family of foot jugglers, a trapeze artist, and an expert hula-hooper. Their performances amazed and delighted the audience. A kids-only, large Hay Fort is one of the most unique things about the Hoes Down. And this year, it was consistently filled with children playing and exploring throughout the day.
The Hoes Down featured three stages and many musical talents. I had the opportunity to listen to three of them: Wolf Thump, The Dustbowl Revival and Joy and Madness. Wolf Thump is a samba troupe and their beats had the crowd up and moving. The Dustbowl Revival, a fusion of jazz and folk, was my personal favorite. I enjoyed the way they fused folk with untraditional brass instruments and jazz influences. Joy and Madness was the closing band and was a great way to end the night. Who doesn’t enjoy a little funk?
Food is one of my favorite things about the Hoes Down Harvest Festival, and this year it was bountiful. A total of twelve food vendors participated. There was a diverse selection of foods to choose from, and they included: Mexican, Mediterranean, burgers and hot dogs, pizza, ice cream and coffee. There were even some delicious chocolate tacos. If you haven’t ever had the opportunity to try one of these delicious ice cream treats you should make it a priority! Visitors at the Hoes Down also got to shop for farm fresh produce at the farmer’s market.
Proceeds from the Hoes Down go to the Ecological Farming Association and many other local community organizations.
If you are bummed because you missed out on the 26th annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival, don’t worry. The 27th will be here before you know it!