Don’t mess with success.
It’s a mantra heard over and over when someone wants to adjust this tradition or that happy formula.
It can also be a rule worth breaking. And that’s exactly what the organizers of this year’s Wendell Harvest Festival did. And it made the town a better place in the process.
Much fanfare is given to the notion that we celebrate the town’s heritage as a farming community at the Harvest Festival. But if we think about that for a moment, what did the harvest mean to the farmers of yesteryear – or today for that matter? It meant payday. The harvest was the way farmers put food on their tables, clothes on their children’s back and a roof over their heads.
So it’s fitting that the Harvest Festival also be about money in one way or another.
That meant hosting a pageant in which the only criteria for winning was how much the contestants could raise for local food banks Organizers say the young people raised nearly $10,000 to support the food pantries. And true to the farming spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, it is also fitting that those in the crowd passed the hat and got that number over $10,000.
And, organizers say, the festival netted abut $15,000 for the chamber of commerce, which is trying to dig out of its own financial hole. It’s importtant that they do, too, because the chamber provides a host of resources and opportunities for local businesses to make their concerns more profitable.
The Harvest Festival Committee accomplished these feats by breaking a little bit with tradition. There was a cornhole tournament, There was also the Little Miss and Little Mister competition mentioned earlier. And the group sold sponsorships to different parts of the event that was essentially like free money.
Breaking with tradition isn’t always a bad thing. Especially when you do so with care as members of the Harvest Festival Committee did.
It has us longing for next year’s festival already.