Saturday, October 22, 2011

Making things happen

I took Snuggler down to the pre-Harvest Festival party last night. She and a friend are running one of the events today. They needed to pick up their much-coveted t-shirts (the only way to get one is to be a volunteer), and were supposed to attend a face-painting lesson. The lesson turned out to be a super-cool, super-professional thing. I had trouble prying Snuggler away from it.

Snuggler putting her new skills to work
I stood around, feeling rather old. It was an observation, not an existential crisis: all the moms running this year's Harvest Festival have kids who are preschoolers. I don't know many of them. I was happy to stand there and feel out of place, for this is the generation of moms who took the baton and ran with it after the first group of Harvest Festival coordinators (myself included) moved on.

Over a thousand cupcakes were decorated today

Here is what I love about the Harvest Festival: its insistence on being a grass-roots event. There's no corporate sponsor, no government organization that does most of the work. There are neighbors who work together to make a great event. There's no 'them' to blame if you're unhappy with something. If you think the line for face-painting is too long, you can fix that problem by being a face painter next year. If you have a great idea for a new activity, you are empowered to make it happen. And no matter how busy your life, there's a way you can help. Even if the only thing you can do all year is bake a dozen cupcakes to donate for the cupcake-decorating table, you're needed.

Little Guy (left) in the sack races
In recent years the Harvest Festival has drawn over 700 people, and more than a hundred volunteers make the day happen. That's a very cool thing in the big city. We build community. We make it happen. Or... we don't.


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