Despite looming clouds and a threat of rain Saturday, a crowd of people flocked to the SAGE Center in Boardman for the Morrow County Harvest Festival.
The event, in its fifth year, showcases the region’s produce, local artisans and regionally-produced agricultural goods, as well as offering family-friendly activities. In addition, visitors were invited to view attractions inside the SAGE Center, free of charge.
Michael Hayward held the stem of a pumpkin steady while Lydia Cropp, 3, his girlfriend’s daughter, carefully painted it. Alyssa Cropp said not only was it the first time they had been to the event, but also the first time they had visited the SAGE Center.
“She’s really impressed with the potatoes,” Alyssa said about her daughter.
“She likes everything for about a second,” Michael added with a laugh.
Other first-timers to the SAGE Center event were Chris and Brittney Hawkins of Arlington. The couple, who moved to the area about a year ago for Chris’ job with GE Renewables, were manning an artisan booth.
While Brittney was hawking candles, soaps, crocheted creations, birdhouses and other re-purposed items made from pallets, Chris was playing an electric cello.
“It seems like a fun farmers’ market,” Chris said.
Standing next to large bins of potatoes, sweet corn and onions, Wyatt Browne, 12, and Radley Griggs, 10, enthusiastically offered those who passed a bag full of the locally grown produce. Held in conjunction with the festival, Threemile Canyon Farms provided goods for the Fall Harvest Bounty For Youth In Agriculture. Money raised from donations will benefit area youths involved in 4-H and FFA in Morrow County.
Familiar faces at the event included Brian and Karli Cook of Equine Elegance. The Irrigon couple brought along half-sisters, Jean and Mary, 9-year-old mules. A steady stream of people of all ages climbed aboard the wagon for rides around the area. Kids especially, Brain said, enjoy interacting with the mules and horses they bring to events.
“We love our animals,” Brian said. “We have a partnership — they take care of us and we take care of them.”
Inside the SAGE Center — Sustainable Agriculture and Energy — visitors were offered a unique opportunity to learn about the technology that takes place locally within the Port of Morrow and throughout the region. The interactive visitor’s center features hands-on activities and a museum store.
The free event was hosted by the SAGE Center in partnership with chamber of commerces in Boardman, Heppner and Irrigon. Artisans and vendors offered fresh produce and handcrafted items. In addition, a Kids Corner provided a variety of activities.