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Harvest Fest

Saturday October 9th, 2010 | Arts @ the Armory | Tickets start at just $20

Harvest Fest is Somerville Local First’s annual fall fundraiser and celebration.  Held at Arts @ The Armory, Harvest Fest brings all things cool and local: beer, wine, music, art, fashion and food for one of the best parties of the year.  Needless to say, we do the ‘nonprofit gala’ thing a little bit differently.

Harvest Fest 2010 will almost certainly sell out well in advance.  After all, tickets are only $20 and you get a ton of value while helping provide much needed capital for SLF to continue its work in the community.

Harvest Fest 2010 - A Celebration of Each Other

by Joe Grafton

Where to begin?  I guess, to get a real picture for what Harvest Fest 2010 meant to me and to SLF, we have to go back a few months to the summer.

We’ve talked about our weather-related misfortune at our first outdoor event this year, SomerFun. The fallout from that rainy day in June was that we lost money, had disappointed vendors, I didn’t get paid for seven weeks, and my confidence was shaken.  Needless to say, I’ve started on projects from better head-spaces than where I started  with Harvest Fest.

But, following the lead of the entrepreneurship on which we were founded, we bootstrapped.  Harvest Fest was in our yearly schedule and we were going to make it happen.  And we would, as the kids say these days, ‘go big or go home’.

I’m not sure if it was the right decision at the time (in retrospect, I think it definitely was), but we on the board agreed to not only hold Harvest Fest this year, but to do it ‘right’.  Doing it right meant following the vision for the event and incorporating what we learned last year.

And even with donations of product from the beer vendors and the restaurants, Harvest Fest was not a cheaply produced event.  In fact, our P&L (Profit & Loss statement) for the event puts our total costs at just over $10,000.  Between fire prevention ($2,000 alone), the venue and fairly compensating the performers, SLF stuck its neck out to make Harvest Fest all it could be.

And for me, standing here on the other side of the event, it was all worth it.

Here’s why:

  • We got the food mostly right this year.  After 12 months of listening to people remark about Harvest Fest 2009′s lack of food, I’m excited to be past that with this years strong performance by the Somerville Restaurants.
  • The amount of excitement that Harvest Fest built, and the resultant awareness in the importance of shifting your shopping to local businesses, was a breakthrough for SLF.  I think there are many more people in Somerville and beyond that understand what we do, why we do it…and most importantly, why they should also participate in the local movement.
  • While almost all opinions matter to me, the opinions of colleagues tend to matter most.  At and after Harvest Fest 2010, people who are involved in the event produciton world were incredibly positive and offered tremendous praise.  There will always be some guests who don’t enjoy an event, but when people who produce them for a living tell you you did something right, it’s a really good sign.
  • Local MET Local.  I heard so many of our vendors and participants talking about how they met and conversed with other local businesses.  We hoped this would happen organically, and it seems like it did.

But if there’s one thing I’ll take away from Harvest Fest 2010, it will be the ubiquitous vibe of happiness that permeated the Armory.  Everyone that I talked to at Harvest Fest was just really happy to be there.  Vendors were happy to talk to their guests, and guests to proprietors.  Performers felt valued and were excited to share their skills for the audience.  Guests seemed really excited to enjoy all the local love.  And from what I can tell, the staff also exuded happiness and thankfulness to be part of the production.

For one day, for a few hours, we brought together hundreds of people to eat, drink and be merry together.  We showed our guests and participants that the community surrounding ‘local’ looks better, tastes better and is just more fun.

Its been said many times in the movement, by leaders with far more experience and wisdom than me, that in order to take our movement to a tipping point, we have to make our work “a better party”.  (Side note:  this is why we try to avoid negativity.  Negativity ruins a party)

By the end of Harvest Fest 2010, at least for a day, it was apparent to me that ‘local’ can be one of the best parties out there and that community, far from a dirty word, is in fact it’s what most of us are seeking.

Harvest Fest 2010: Where Local was a better party

Originally posted on...October 14th, 2010

Harvest Fest Recap

Harvest Fest was a huge success! Based on the comments, tweets, and Facebook posts we heard and saw all day yesterday, folks had an amazing experience.

Share your Harvest Fest photos on our Facebook page, and check out the blog later this week for how things looked on our end, including the official photos from the SLF Photo Booth.

Originally posted on...October 10th, 2010

Ceviche, Crostini, Creme Fraiche oh MY! Menu items announced for Harvest Fest 2010

We’re excited to start announcing some of the menu items that will be served at Harvest Fest 2010. To be honest, we are blown away by what we’re hearing so far. The forecast most surely calls for Om Nom Noms.

Foundry on Elm - Doing Double Duty plus 1

Foundry on Elm is not only our Food Sponsor this year, helping us transform from what was a pretty big issue with last year’s event into a clear strength for 2010, they are also working on the “go big or go home” philosophy.  Participating in both session and providing TWO different bites at Session 2.

Session 1 & 2 Menu:  Smoked Trout Pate over Crostini

Session 2 Additional menu Item: Chilled Gazpacho with Avacado Creme Fraiche

Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar - Both Sessions

Chef Ronnarong (aka The Great Thai Chef) from Ronnarong Thai Tapas Bar will be preparing two dishes to sample at each session of Harvest Fest.

Ginger Chicken

The Greath Thai Chef’s Fried Rice (Vegetarian w/ Tofu)

Highland Kitchen - Serving at Session 1

Highland Kitchen’s Deviled Eggs were a hit last year.  This year they’ll be serving up Ceviche (!!!) for our Session 1 guests.

Trina's Starlite Lounge - Serving at Session 1

Trina’s Starlite Lounge will show all of our Session 1 guests that they’re not just a great place to enjoy a drink.  They’ll be serving a Squash Tart with Apple Slaw and Spicy Pecan

Lion's Share Foods - Session 1

Lion's Share Foods - Session 1

And for all you fans of Fermented food (and for those who want to see what it’s all about), Lion’s  Share Foods has you covered in Session 1.  They’ll be serving: Soup and Samples of Kimchee and Saurkraut

More menu announcements coming soon…hurry, presale tix are gone for Session 2 but some still available for Session 1!

Originally posted on...October 7th, 2010

Tuesday is HONK! Day at SLF

October is, to say the least, a busy month when it comes to festivals.  When we were booking the dates for Harvest Fest, we found a beer festival scheduled almost every weekend in October.  So we picked October 9th.  Then, after we announced it, we found out we programmed the same day as the HONK! Festival.  Whoops!

The Fifth Annual HONK! Festival Saturday, Oct 9, Noon – 9 pm Davis Square.

We reached out to Redbones Owner Rob Gregory (one of HONK!s founders) and the HONK! Organizers.  After speaking with them about the conflict, we investigated a date change (Oct 23rd was booked at the Armory and there was a competing festival every other weekend in October…except for the last one…but we didn’t want to do Halloween).  When that didn’t work, we  discussed how we could minimize the impact with HONK! Organizers.  We made sure to not impinge on their resources and promised to also inform folks about HONK!

So today, on the Tuesday before our biggest and most important event of the year, we’re only going to be talking about the HONK! festival, why its awesome and why you should go and support it.

Also….we’ll probably announce the date of Harvest Fest 2011 sooner next year :)

Originally posted on...October 5th, 2010

Getting Tickets at the Door for Harvest Fest? Read this…

Pre-sale tickets to Harvest Fest 2010 are just about gone and, we’re getting really excited to produce one of the best events of the year for our guests.  THERE WILL BE TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR, so we wanted to let you know how things will work if you plan on getting tickets the day of the event.

Consider this our disclaimer for those who won’t make it into the event.  To avoid that disappointment, buy your pre-sale tickets here.

We have a plan for walk up ticket sales at Harvest Fest it is.

Harvest Fest door tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis.  While last years event saw a lot of turnover (people leaving after an hour or two), we’re not sure that’ll happen this year.

If you buy presale tickets you are guaranteed a taste at each participating restaurant.  We are printing 400 postcards for each session that will get our guests and our staff 1 bite/small serving each at the participating restaurants.  This is our way of communicating exactly how much food each restaurant should bring.  After each card has been distributed, they are gone.  We will offer reduced admission of $15 for anyone that wishes to enter the event without receiving a food card. (Update:  This was $10, then about $1,000 in costs came out of nowhere, as they do, so we’re upping it to $15.  Hope you understand…it is a fundraiser after all)

Arriving at the Armory

The Armory will have two receiving lines for each Harvest Fest Session.  One for ticket holders and one for walk  ups.   If you’e bought your tickets pre-sale, you’ll be in the Fast Lane to Harvest Fest

The capacity at the Armory is only 395 at one time and we have approximately 100 staff/volunteers/performers for each session.  Once we have reached capacity, we will begin distributing numbers from 1-40 for guests who’d like to wait in the Armory Cafe.

As guests leave (if they do), we’ll call those numbers in order for admittance.  We can not guarantee that any waiting guests will be able to get into Harvest Fest.

So there you have it.  Our plan to deal with guests and ticketing.  We’re also open to suggestions if you feel any of this isn’t cool or doesn’t make sense.  There are still a few days for us to modify and improve our plan.  Do leave comments if you have thoughts  you’d like to share. (Update:  No comments, this is how we’re doing it)

Or avoid the issue altogether by buying your tickets right now.

Originally posted on...October 4th, 2010

Disco & Chair Massage…its the little things

While there will be plenty going on in the main hall at Harvest Fest 2010 (buy tickets here), there will also be some great stuff on the perifphery that will last in our memories.

The Armory gallery will be turned into a photo booth manned by Jason Bergman.  We have a cool setup in mind that should make for fun and festive photos to remember your day.  Photos are free and we’ll post them on our Facebook page.

Capture the Local Love in this years Photo Booth

The Armory cafe will see a mid-session performance by Errantry,  an acoustic/ folk/ synth band.  Collectively they play around 11 instruments, but what defines their unique sound are the engaging harmonies.  Errantry, whose name comes from a list of top 100 aesthetically beautiful English words, will start their set at the end of Session 1 and continue to the beginning of Session 2, making standing in line anything but a chore.

Errantry in the Armory Cafe during Harvest Fest Session change

If the general hoopla of Harvest Fest becomes too much for you, the cafe will also host two of SLF Members limber you up.  Mass Metta Massage during  Session 1 and The Relaxation Response during Session 2.

And for those of you who are attending both Harvest Fest sessions or simply leaving the first, we’ve partnered to bring you a delightful surprise.

Silent Storm will be  bringing their mobile headsets and roving transmitter for…wait for it….wait for it…a Disco March around the ‘ville just before sunset.

Silent Storm + Harvest Fest = Disco March apparently

The march will return just in time for Session 2 and the start of a wonderful evening.  Have your tickets?

Originally posted on...October 4th, 2010

Local Sourcing in Focus – Harvest Fest to welcome Pizzeria Posto & The Independent

by Joe Grafton

While we’re not quite there yet on highlighting specific local ingredients or menus with our Food Vendors at Harvest Fest (next year, we’re thinking theme ingredient each session?),  the today’s announcement that Pizzeria Posto and The Independent makes it an easy choice

If you’re a customer of either or both, you already know where I’m going.  Both menus regularly feature seasonal locally-sourced items.  Local food is important to both of these organizations, and its important to us.  We can’t wait to see what they cook up at Harvest Fest 2010 (tix here)

Pizzerai Posto - Participating in Session 1 & Session 2

Posto, a modern interpretation of a classic Italian pizzeria, enoteca and trattoria all presented in a “farm chic” open air concept, is a fantastic new addition to Davis Square specializing in wood fired Neapolitan Pizza in the spirit of Verace Pizza Napoletana.

Posto features an exciting “small plates” menu, handmade pastas and specialty cocktails while providing a family friendly, approachable dining venue. We support local artists, farmers, and ranchers whenever possible.

Their website here, designed by SLF Member Oat Creative.

The Independent - Participating in Session 1

The Independent is a casual, comfortable neighborhood restaurant and pub located in the heart of Union Square. Our seasonally influenced dinner menu is offered at either of our two bars as well as in the dining room. The kitchen prepares all of their cuisine with simple, classic preparation, using local, sustainable, and fresh ingredients. Fresh, local seafood specials are a daily mainstay.

The drink menu at The Independent features both standards and new trends. Our wine list is small, featuring mainstays of the old world while maintaining an emphasis on smaller vineyards, organic and biodynamic practices, and a low mark up. The beer list changes seasonally, featuring many local and craft breweries, as well as an array of Belgians, making full use of our 32 draught lines and 60-some-odd bottles.

And, if you didn’t know, The Indo hosted a quickly sold out ALLocal Dinner earlier this year, where every ingredient on the menu, down to the salt and spices, came from New Engalnd. (ALLocal Dinners are a program of The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston)

Needless to say, Locavores should find lots of Local Love at Harvest Fest 2010.

Originally posted on...September 22nd, 2010

Pretty Things Beer & Highland Kitchen - Latest Announced Participants at Harvest Fest 2010

We’d like to start off our blog this week by announcing  two more amazing participants in Harvest Fest 2010.  With just under 3 weeks left before the big day, we’re getting really excited for 10/9 to get here….with these two participants you can see why.

Session 1 Food Vendor - Highland Kitchen

Highland Kitchen was one of the hits of Harvest Fest 2009.  Their deviled egg specialty was voraciously scooped up at last years event (Ed. ~ hmmm, maybe that had a little something to do with the dearth of food?) and we expect this years offerings to be equally scrumptious.

Highland Kitchen is a family-owned neighborhood restaurant and bar located “up the hill” in the heart of Somerville.
It has been delivering its award-winning American comfort food, well-crafted cocktails, friendly service and a killer jukebox in a casual, fun atmosphere since opening its doors in 2007.  Their Weekly Goings On include a rotating set of musicians, games, a monthly spelling bee and an ever evolving blackboard of specials.

"We are a gypsy brewery, without a permanent brewing home. We like it that way, we can be whatever we want to be on a shoestring budget. What more do you want than that?"

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is something special.  The brewers/founders are passionate about what they do.  What we love about them most is that this passion and personality resonate throughout everything they do.  If you ask beer connoisseurs in the Boston Metro they’ll likely bring up Pretty Things as one of their favorite local indies….so would we.  We’re not sure yet if Pretty Things will be on the main floor, or only available to Super Supporters, but we’ll be sure to update you soon.  We’re just psyched to have them there.

Originally posted on...September 20th, 2010

Harvest Fest Contest Extended - Keeping it simple

Win tickets to the session of your choice...TODAY!

So we launched a contest on Friday of last week.  It was the 2nd time we’ve done so on a Friday, and both times almost nobody played. (Note to organization  - Choose a better day of the week next time)

So we’re going to extend the contest and simplify it.  Just comment on this blog post by the 10:00 PM tonight for a chance to win a pair of tix to the Harvest Fest session of your choice.

Originally posted on...September 20th, 2010

Regale us for Harvest Fest Tix to the Session of your Choice

3 more weeks and Harvest Fest will be upon us....we're excited about it and hope you are too.

We wanted to run a contest on our blog for tickets and this time want you to get creative.  So we are going to pick our favorite reply to this post as the winner and award a pair of Harvest Fest tickets to your choice of sessions.

To enter, comment on this blog post by Sunday @ 1:00 PM and tell us, in your most fun and creative way, why you’d like to go to Harvest Fest.  We’re looking forward to seeing what you can come up with.

Note:  We love fun and irreverent, but must ask you to keep it clean or we won’t approve the comment and you won’t have a chance to win.

Originally posted on...September 17th, 2010

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