Organizer, festival, still going strong after half-century
by Jack Deming
Sep 27, 2012 | 2425 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the First Baptist Church show off the centerpiece of their harvest festival raffle, a hand-made quilt with blocks of maple leaves.
Members of the First Baptist Church show off the centerpiece of their harvest festival raffle, a hand-made quilt with blocks of maple leaves.
READSBORO-The fellowship group of the First Baptist Church of Readsboro will welcome fall with their annual harvest festival Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm at the church on Main Street. For the church and the town alike this is not just any year; 2012 marks 50 years for the festival, and every year Evelyn King has been there to organize the event. “I think the town really enjoys the festival, and we get a lot of support from the town, because we’re such a small group,” said King. “We also get a lot of support from people who belong to the church but have moved away from Readsboro.”

The festival will feature vendors in front of, and to both sides of the church selling locally made art, handcrafts, and woodcrafts, as well as plants, produce, and preserves. An always-popular attic-treasures tag sale will be held, as well as a silent auction, and a children’s Chinese auction. A hand-made quilt with 50 blocks of colorful maple leaves will also be raffled. T-shirts commemorating the festival anniversary will also be sold for $8 throughout the day.

Three bands and a bagpiper will supply musical entertainment, and a luncheon of soup, sandwiches, and dessert will be served from 11 am to 2 pm in the church basement, as well as a ham and bean dinner at 5 pm.

The first harvest festival came together in 1962 when King met with Harriet Bolner, Betty Sprague, and Barbara Sprague at the home of Betty Christensen to create a gathering the entire town could be involved with. Since then, the fellowship of the church has come together each year to create what they refer to as a vital event in the life of the church. “We always have this on the last Saturday in September, so people have it on their calendar,” said King. “We get a lot of people who come to town just for the festival.”

The festival has experienced rain, snow, and last year, uncertainty at the hands of Tropical Storm Irene. But according to King, the only thing that’s changed about the festival in 50 years is, “It’s gotten bigger.” King also said there have been years where the group was not able to hold a dinner, but this year is too special to skip anything.

The harvest festival raises money each year for church maintenance and church outreach programs. One program the fellowship takes great pride in is Bible Sticks for Soldiers, a program that supplies soldiers oversees with audio Bibles. “They’re MP3 players that have the Bible programmed on them and can be put on different devices they (American soldiers) may have in the field. This way they can listen to the Bible and have access to it at all times,” said group member Norman Goodermote. “They get distributed to Army chaplains overseas, and they give them to soldiers that request them wherever they may be stationed.” King says this is important to a church that has had many members serve in America’s armed forces.

The group also uses money to make prayer shawls that are blessed and hand-delivered to ailing or terminally ill members of the community. Since 2010 the group has made and distributed 104 shawls locally. The church also raises money for Love in Action, a program that assists families experiencing financial difficulties. The annual festival typically raises $2,000 to $3,000.
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