The first Chetco Village HarvestFest Saturday provided an opportunity for the community to get better acquainted with clubs, groups, programs and associations that enhance the lives of Brookings-Harbor children.
Children and adult volunteers made the most of the drizzly day by singing, dancing, making crafts and sharing their interests with each other and patrons of the event.
Hot dogs donated by Harbor Meats and Pepsi were sold with proceeds benefiting girls soccer and dance/spirit teams at Brookings-Harbor schools.
Performing live music was Carl Rovainen on banjo and George Layton on autoharp. After they finished, members of The Book Dock Band gathered with them for a tribute to folk music. The group of musicians had the crowd dancing and singing along as they played. Soon, the kids too, joined in the fun, hopping up to the microphones and singing along with the adults.
County commissioner Rachelle Schaaf was spotted at one time exercising her vocal talents, while she and the children tried to remember words to songs they probably hadn't heard since their days at camp.
Lead organizer Jo Mochulski of The Book Dock said she believes the HarvestFest is a way to bring people together to celebrate harvest season, while giving kids a chance to promote their interests, do some recruiting and raise money.
"We had great participation for a first time event," Mochulski said. "The word will spread, and it will be bigger and better next year."
"The idea is is for the organizations to have an opportunity to promote themselves, and if they can raise a little money on something else, that's great," Mochulski said.
Throughout the event, Girl Scout Membership and Marketing Director Jacque Graves was able to bring some attention to the program and recruited new members.
She and her husband Scott Graves also hosted a craft table in which they helped youngsters make their own pinwheels using construction paper, glue and glitter.
"I think it's a really great thing. I'd like to see it happen again next year," she said. "The people who are here, are having a good time."
With only two Girl Scout troops in town for girls in grades one through nine, Graves said she would like to spread the word and generate interest in this valuable program.
"We really want to get a Girl Scout program going in this area again," she said. "I grew up in scouts and learned a lot of valuable skills. It gives girls leadership skills they can use throughout their lives.We learn that we can do anything we want to do or be anything we want to be."
Graves invites those interested in the Girl Scout program to call her at (541) 412-7798 and to keep an eye out for notices of upcoming craft and sign-up nights.
Brookings-Harbor High School dance and cheer troupe, Bear Delights, and competition cheerleading team, Brookings Cheer Elite, wowed the HarvestFest audience as the two groups performed routines.
Crissy Cooper, one of the four captains of Bear Delights, said she was happy her team was able to get the chance to entertain during the festival, and to raise needed funds that will allow Cooper and Melissa Mattos to go to New York to perform as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Based on their talents and achievements, they were invited to participate in the upcoming event by the Universal Cheerleading Association.
The high-school team sold many of their specially-designed and painted birdhouse garden stakes on Saturday, and plan to continue raising money until both girls have enough to make the trip back east, fulfilling the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Their birdhouses were so popular at the festival, that they have decided to keep selling them by special request. Cooper said the girls are willing to customize the birdhouses, by painting them certain colors, writing names or sayings like, "Free Weeds, U-Pick" on the bigger ones for example, or "Julie's Keys" on the smaller houses, or anything else the customer might ask for.
Cooper said she was impressed with how well people took to the garden decorations. She reported, "We sold $56 worth of birdhouses to one person."
People who would like to purchase a Bear Delights birdhouse craft, or would like to have one specially designed, call Lori Powell at 412-9030 or (541) 469-3123.
Cooper, who hopes to start her own dance studio in Brookings next summer, said she enjoys being on the team.
"I wanted to be in the Bear Delights since I was 7. Dancing is my life," Cooper said.
In an effort to bring awareness to their organization, and to raise needed funds, Brookings Cheer Elite members held a raffle for two overnight stays at the Fishin' Shack, and the Victorian Cottage, and a bake sale. The girls hosted a craft table where children could design pet rocks, complete with wiggly eyes and silly hair.
The group worked to cover expenses for an upcoming cheer competition in Santa Rosa, Calif., Nov. 17 and also to help fellow team member, Monique Corpening, with her trip to London where she will perform on New Year's Day with the Universal Cheerleading Association's All-Star Team. Corpenin was selected to represent the International All-Star Team, after competing for the honor at a cheerleading camp earlier this summer.
The team has much more to raise to accomplish its goals and will be scheduling several car washes and yard sales, to help cover their remaining costs. If you would like to sponsor Corpening, or help the team attend the Santa Rosa event, contact coach Jennifer Lueckfeld at 469-5205.
Also raising funds, courtesy of a cotton candy machine donated by the Boy Scouts, were history buffs from Azalea Middle School. In order to spend a week in Washington, D.C., at the end of June, headed by eighth grade history teacher Jason Fulton, the kids must come up with $1,400 each. In addition to the HarvestFest, children are planning a Walk-A-Thon Oct. 19.
Parent helper for the young historian group, Michelle McCormick, said she believes the HarvestFest is something The Book Dock should try and organize again.
"I think its really great anytime they have community things like this," McCormick said.
Cheri McCorkle, of the Kalmiopsis Parent Teacher Association (PTA), busied herself assisting children making and selling "Sandy Candy." The candy, which is similar to a big Pixie Stick, is a fundraising project that helps the PTA earn money to improve the safety of the school's playground.
"Our biggest goal is to get new playground equipment," McCorkle said. By equipment, she is referring to generous protective padding that will lay on top of the current concrete surface.
McCorkle talked about how the concrete playground at Kalmiopsis, is responsible for several bumps, scrapes, bruises, and trips to the nurse's office each day.
"It costs $100 per square foot of padding which goes underneath, and around the equipment." said McCorkle. She hopes to recruit volunteers to help install the padding once they reach their goal of $20,000. With $12,000 left to go, PTA members are planning future fundraisers such as an upcoming Bingo Night and Carnival Oct. 4, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Youth leader for Brookings-Harbor Christian Church Donna Knauss saw the HarvestFest as worthwhile event that helps children in the community, but hopes the weather is more favorable next year. She said, "I like it, I think it's a great idea. I just wish it was a sunny day."
Knauss, and a few young people from the church, spent the day providing information about the youth program, which meets every Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and also raised funds by offering cards (resembling a credit card) which provide discounts at area businesses.
Another church group was on hand to familiarize the community with their program. The First Baptist Church's AWANA group is similar to scouting in the way that children study and earn recognition for their achievement, but different, in that kids complete courses revolving around Christian practices. AWANA is open to children ages 3 years and up and meets on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
AWANA Commander Mona Chandler set-up a booth complete with a tank of helium, where she gave away balloons.
"We're here to expose people to what AWANA represents and what it's about," Chandler said.
"It's a great time to drop the kids off and go to dinner." She said. "The parents do not need to be members of our church to bring their children to AWANA. The children are supervised; we are fully staffed, and because children have to be checked in and checked out by a parent, it is very safe."
The Curry County Health Department spent the day educating the public about programs that benefit children.
WIC, which stands for Women, Infants, and Children, provides families who qualify, with nutritional vouchers for free items, including milk, eggs, cheese, tuna, peanut butter, carrots, and cereal.
The Baby First program, targets what the department calls "first-birth families," meaning one or two parent families welcoming their first child. Nurses, along with family support workers, come to the homes of new parents and provide a kind of "live instruction manual" for the family about its new arrival. During this time, the team answers questions and gives advice.
Helping spread the word of the two programs was James Boddie, a VISTA volunteer stationed in Curry County.
"We are trying to promote awareness and recruit women to WIC and Baby First programs" he said.
Kelli Brown, a nurse at the Health Department said of the HarvestFest and the opportunity it provided them, "I think it's a great idea. If the weather had been nicer, it would have drawn more people."
Also helping out at the Health Department booth was Dianna Roediger. She summarized the HarvestFest experience by saying, "There's great music, and great atmosphere. Everybody's happy," and added, "It's nice to see the focus on the kids."