Harvest Festival brings strong support for park
A large crowd of supporters enjoyed the annual Lehman Park Harvest Festival on Saturday, thanks to the interest generated by park and community supporters and a last minute break in the weather.
“The turnout for the 2013 Harvest Festival on Saturday was the biggest yet,” said Amy Orr, who headed up the effort. “Many families who have attended in past years returned for the fun children’s activities and we welcomed many newcomers.
“I received a message Saturday evening from a mother whose family had attended for the first time,” said Orr on Sunday. “She said that they would definitely be coming back next year.”
Orr was pleased because vendors not only represented the local area, there were several there from a distance, especially the Crawfordsville area. Other local vendors, such as Becki Schwartz, showed her hand-knit creations, “Lost Her Stiches,” for the first time publicly.
The big highlight of the day, financially, was the Amish baked goods auction which generated over $2,000 in receipts. Orr noted that the Amish community had contributed large amounts of baked goods in support of their enjoyment of park equipment.
“Our produce and Amish-baked goods auction doubled this year in about every way imaginable,” said Orr. “We had even more generous donations from the Amish community. We had the largest number of bidders to date, and they were very generous in their efforts.
“At the end of two hours of bidding, more than $2,000 had been contributed toward park improvements,” continued Orr. “Many added something extra to their check as they paid their auction bill. I am touched year after year to see such an example of love, goodwill and generosity.”
Orr praised South Adams students where elementary and middle school students participated in a school-sponsored fundraising activity before the festival.
“Students raised over $400 for the park,” said Orr. “They should be proud to know that they each had a hand in whatever improvements the park board and city choose to make at Lehman Park in the next few years.
“There are so many worthy causes; I know there are more urgent needs in our community. But as a society, we are concerned about childhood obesity rates,” observed Orr. “As parents we do whatever we can to promote a healthy lifestyle because we love our children.”
Orr said that she sees Lehman Park as a tremendous tool for parents who want to keep their children off the couch and away from television and videos.
“What child doesn’t like going to the park,” said Orr. “I can’t think of any I’ve known that didn’t enjoy swings, slides and monkey bars. They realize that they are going to the park to have fun and they are. The beauty of a city park is that kids learn that being active and having fun go hand in hand.”
Orr also sees the park as a place that brings families and friends together. She noted that in regular schedules, most parents are busy and find it difficult to have time to connect with children.
“The park is meant for recreation and for getting away from the daily grind,” Orr said. “It’s an ideal spot for one on one time with your children. Best of all, there is no admission fee and it is open seven days a week. It’s easy to fit a trip to the park in your schedule.”
Ron Dull, who heads up the Lehman Park Committee, said that he was thankful for the support of God and man in Saturday’s event.
“Let’s face it; it started out as a rainy day and the forecast was for rain. The good Lord had other ideas and the sun came out and blessed us,” said Dull. “I can’t say enough about the tremendous effort of Amy Orr on behalf of this event. She has such commitment and works so hard for this.
“The Amish community has been unbelievable in their support of the bake sale,” said Dull. “I think this is the most baked goods we have ever had. The support of their community for the park is so deeply appreciated.”
“I really believe that the folks who come out for our auction are some of the brightest lights shining in our community,” observed Orr. “They are humble people who would not want to be mentioned by name or recognized for their contributions. Their goodwill doesn’t go unnoticed and I am sure that someday they will be paid for their generosity.”
Orr stressed that those who would still like to contribute to the final tally of Saturday’s event may do so by mailing or dropping off donations to the office of Wabash Valley Living, 346 U.S. 27 North, Berne, Ind. 46711. Checks may be made payable to the City of Berne and designated as “Park Equipment Fund” in the memo line.
“For those who couldn’t make it on Saturday, we will still accept donations,” said Orr. “We will be making the final counts and tallying receipts yet this week.”
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