OA: Samantha Stiles Column September 19, 2008

Mountain Harvest Festival full of events

No more American National Bank Farmers Markets. Whatever will we do?

It just so happens I’m easily persuaded by persistence and compliments, and Geoff Legg, director of the Mountain Harvest Festival in Paonia offered both. (Hi, Geoff.) He made sure I knew about the eighth annual festival, Sept. 26–28, which features locally grown food, among other things.

He says highlights include: a guided local organic farms tour organized by the head of the Colorado State University Agricultural Research Center in Hotchkiss; self-guided tours of local farms open to the public only for the festival; 18 regional bands in four venues on one block in downtown Paonia on Saturday night (one ticket gets you into everything); free events in the park all day Saturday and Sunday with activities for children based around agriculture; vendors; and a Sunday farmers market.

A couple of things I’m particularly interested in:

•  The Intro to Organic Beekeeping workshop on Saturday. Insert corny joke about it being all the buzz here. Bees really freak me out. Let’s be honest here, all bugs that move sporadically and some that don’t really freak me out.

•  The slow bike race on Saturday. The last person to cross the finish line wins and you can’t put your feet on the ground. Sounds like my kind of race.

•  The pub crawl Friday night.  It combines two of my favorite things, live music and beer. Beth Quist performs at The Paradise Theater. Tickets cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
The festival’s Web site, http://www.mountainharvestfestival.com, has tons of information.

Shifting gears to art now.

Two things happened this week that are good for me, you and the artists that live here.

Earlier this week, Grand Junction City Council revised the city’s One Percent for the Arts Program/Art in Public
Places, established 11 years ago. The 1997 resolution stipulated that the artwork selected through the program be installed at the site of the city project where the money came from.

This meant that if the city renovated a park bathroom, the artwork had to be put at the park bathroom.

The revised resolution now states that the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture has more freedom to
pick a site that will benefit the larger public. The money can also be pooled to purchase larger more expensive pieces of artwork.

Tuesday night the Fruita City Council adopted a resolution to create Fruita’s first Arts and Culture Board, similar to the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture.

“It’s about time,” said Fruita city council member Stacey Mascarenas.

The city is looking for people interested in being board members. They should apply through the Fruita City Clerk. (Call 858-3663 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

Mascarenas said it’s hoped a board will be formed by the end of year. The role of the board will be to work with Fruita Parks and Recreation to develop an art festival, maybe develop an art gallery in downtown Fruita, organize art shows at Fruita businesses and create an Art on the Corner type exhibit for Fruita.

“We have a pretty large arts community here,” she said. “But there’s never been an effort to get them all together.”

She’d like to see all areas of arts and culture come together including music, 2-D and 3-D art and dance.



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