Harvest Traditions: Cedar Valley Arboretum Fall Harvest Festival
on Tuesday, August 30, 2016
When the birds are fledged and flown,
And the dry leaves strew the path . . .
Once again the fields we mow
And gather in the aftermath.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Aftermath”
From the Balinese veneration of Dewi Sri the rice goddess to the pagan British festivals adopted by Christianity, getting together to celebrate the work of farmers, abundance of food, and hope for next year’s harvest is a tradition as old and diverse as humanity itself. In the time before air conditioning and gas furnaces, the day-to-day life of people was knit together with the seasons, giving people a natural rhythm and ritual from year to year.
Here in our pocket of the heartland, we keep the tradition of harvest celebration alive with Fall Harvest Festival at the Cedar Valley Arboretum. Come admire the plants of the Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens while taking part in the 18th year of Fall Harvest Festival on September 11, from 11am-4pm!
Envisioned by the arboretum to be “a joyful celebration of autumn and the summer’s success,” the Fall Harvest Festival brings together a variety of activities to create an outing to please the whole family. Some highlights include the show and shine car display, craft and food vendors, tractor trolley rides, live entertainment, a plethora of children’s activities, and more! Linda Nebbe and her owls will also be back this year, by popular demand.
For those with an interest in history, a prairie village will be set up at the arboretum to educate visitors and pay homage to the frontier past of Iowa. There, you can see demonstrations of blacksmithing, storytelling, woodcarving, spinning, and other crafts preserved by tradition. Glimpse what life was like in the time when a good harvest meant everything to the life and prosperity of a family.
Fall Harvest Festival is full of crafts and activities to put you in the mood to welcome autumn after a hot summer. The famous scarecrow display and contest will be returning this year, with judging taking place on Saturday, September 10th at noon. Entering a scarecrow in the display and contest is free, and area businesses are also welcome to sponsor scarecrows. There are no guidelines on size, materials, shape, or cost, so the possibilities for entries are truly limitless. After the winners are declared and admired, scarecrows will be auctioned off through the rest of the festival.
Admission to the Fall Harvest Festival for children 13 & under is free. For adults and teens 14 and older, admission is $5. For driving directions, please visit the Cedar Valley Arboretum website.
If you'd like to find more to see in the Cedar Valley, we invite you to contact the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 319-268-4266 (800-845-1955). Or visit Things to Do, Places to Stay and Places to Eat & Drink and put together a weekend itinerary using our Travel Pack!
Guest blog post by Hannah Carr-Murphy
Photos courtesy the Cedar Valley Arboretum.