Sponsors, exhibitors, instructors sought for Harvest Festival

— Created August 25, 2021 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

We are still deep into summer, but already plans are being made for the second annual Whidbey Island Harvest Festival, to be held Oct. 1-3 at the Island County Fairgrounds and Events Center in Langley.

The event, which began in 2019, but was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, is a collaborative effort of the Langley Chamber of Commerce, the Port of South Whidbey and Langley Creates. Organizers are looking for sponsors, vendors and instructors and urge those interested to apply by the end of August.

“Anyone wanting to sell, show, teach or just provide information on their product or brand is welcome to take space,” said Inge Morascini, executive director of the Langley Chamber. “We are once again teaming up with Whidbey Island Grown. We are seeking food purveyors especially, as the food is a focal point of the festival. Local restaurants, caterers and food trucks are welcome. Artists and artisans are all welcome and we have a lot of space to fill.”

Morascini said sponsorships are also available to support all or parts of the event.

“We have taken a tiered approach to sponsorship, with the ability to sponsor the Pumpkin Patch children’s area, the Harvest Dance or the Music stage at $500, or the whole festival at $1,000,” she explained.

Festivities will begin this year with a Harvest Dance Friday evening, Oct. 1 in the pole barn. Local wines and light snacks will be served. Tickets will be sold for the dance only, at $20 per person. The rest of the Harvest Festival is free and open to the public. Hours Saturday and Sunday will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The pole barn will feature local foods and beverages, the midway will be filled with local products and service providers and the Burrier building will host local arts and crafts.

“Returning to Whidbey Island’s roots is the major emphasis of the festival,” described Morascini. “The reason the festival was started was to celebrate the agricultural and artistic roots of Whidbey Island and to support local farmers, growers, restaurants, wine and spirits makers, crafters and artists. There is so much talent on Whidbey Island and we wanted people to see it all in one space. The intent is to herald all of the Island’s creatives – farmers, growers, restaurants, makers, artisans and artists.”

Even with one year under organizers’ belts, in many ways this festival is starting all over again, due to the gap year.

“It seems, now that things are opening up, people are hungry to get out and enjoy their surroundings again,” said Morascini. “We are starting back at zero, essentially. But, the idea of celebrating the roots of our community resonates with so many of us; the Harvest Festival is a natural fit and people are supportive of products made by their friends and neighbors.”

The first festival was a great success and Morascini said organizers are hoping to have a repeat of that this year.

“The first year (2019) was a tremendous success, with several thousand people attending the event,” she said. “There were so many children at the event in 2019 that we have expanded activities for kids with a large, tented children’s area at the end of the midway. Free pumpkins will be available for every child.”

Those interested in signing up to participate in the event should go to visitlangley.com/harvest. Those interested in sponsoring the event can go to visitlangley.com/harvestsponsor. Any questions may be directed to Emily at hellolangley@whidbey.com or by calling 360-221-6765.

“The community at large is supportive of its neighbors and we hope people come out to enjoy this festival to celebrate our way of life,” Morascini said. “We are all interconnected in our island community and have a lot to be thankful for. The harvest is always a time to enjoy the products of the land and the people that live here.”