Letter: 20 years of gratitude

  • Quilt and cake at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. Submitted photo

Published: 10/5/2018 10:11:26 AM
Modified: 10/5/2018 10:12:22 AM
20 Years of Gratitude

The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival Committee wishes to thank all of the attendees, exhibitors, volunteers, and performers whose presence made the 20th anniversary of the event on Sept 29/30 so special. There is much that is directly experienced with 120 incredible art, agriculture, food, healing arts and community organizations. Three stages and the rolling fields feature music, local living-renewable energy workshops, chef, artist and farmer demos and spoken word- testimony to the culturally rich local talent that abounds. And, there is much that is not visible, but contributes to the sense of community and vision for a hopeful future that attracts and nourishes thousands of people each year.

Our committee of twenty friends and neighbors are volunteers, who meet year round at the festival site, Forsters Farm, over a monthly potluck to plan and envision. We have handcrafted our stages and tables over the years, but setting up the festival remains a BIG endeavor. All exhibitors contribute four hours of support raising canopies, providing food for a work crew, or taking it all down. This unique model builds a strong community of vendors and organizers, who then arrive already connected to each other and the event.

Volunteerism—not only among the organizers but the 150 who help park, monitor the compost/recycle stations, help with kids activities, or welcome people at the gate, means we’ve been able to donate $40,000 over the years to North Quabbin causes that promote the arts, wellness, and food justice efforts, plus mini-grants to local parent, environmental, and social service groups that help with parking. This year as part of our anniversary, we distributed 200 guest passes to regional grassroots organizations in solidarity, and gave out 1,500 packets of pollinator seeds, real and symbolic of sowing goodness far and wide.

As the final hours of the festival weekend approached, a brass band parade led the crowds to a giant circle, where organizer Josefa was raised high on a tractor bucket. Across the circle, a banner made by organizer Lou, a tapestry of 20 years of ‘the festival that stinks’ t-shirts was unfurled. Prior to the circle of hundreds pausing for 20 gongs then sharing a giant birthday cake, Josefa got the crowd going with a call and response of values that have sustained the festival —peace, love, creativity, community, diversity, kindness, perseverance, gratitude, resilience. With these central to our actions, and evident in many events, organizations, and movements in Franklin County, the North Quabbin and beyond, we are all stronger.

The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival Committee

Thanks for the great time

Open letter to my reunion classmates of ‘68. What a fun get-together over the 14th and 15th! Thanks to the invitation from Sally that found its way to Arizona, I was able to plan to return to Athol.

Great job M.C. Peter Gerry, treasurer Diane Gray et al. It was fun to catch up with Christine, Martha, Earl, Charlie, Scott and some “kids” I hadn’t seen in over 50 years.

Jeff Plotkin

Prescott, Arizona

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