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Holladay Journal

A showcase for all we do: Harvest Festival at Wasatch Waldorf

Oct 31, 2019 03:39PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Kids at the 2019 Harvest Festival make crafts. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Wasatch Academy hosted their annual Harvest Festival on Oct. 12. The festival is a fundraiser for the charter school, but it also offers a chance for the community to get together. Students also have the chance to put their curriculum into practice through a farm stand, music performances and exploration of local artisan vendors.  

Brandy Lund is a resident of Holladay and the Harvest Festival coordinator. “It is an opportunity to gather as a community to celebrate the abundance of summer and the harvest of fall. There is live music, games, crafts, food and a vendor market. The festival is open to the public and admission is free,” Lund said. 

The festival covered most of the school’s outdoor campus and went from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. People purchased tickets to use at booths. Dozens of vendors sold everything from clothing to crystals to produce. 

Principal Emily Merchant said the festival was a great success. “I feel like we had a fantastic turnout. People both within our school community and in the greater Holladay community attended, which we love. It looks like we brought in more money than last year, which is exciting and encouraging,” Merchant said. 

Meghan Zurkan is the outgoing fundraising chair and a board member. She said funds raised from the Harvest Festival go directly to run the school. “This is one of two main fundraising events that the school hosts. Funds are used to support additional faculty and staff and specialty programs.”

Zurkan said Waldorf schools have a specific vision which fundraisers help support. “Waldorf schools are noted for movement classes, farming and gardening programs, fine arts and practical arts. Offering [these] courses alongside … imaginative academic curriculum takes a lot of resources. Fundraising is essential to helping create the vision of the school,” Zurkan said. 

In addition to crafts run by the school, there were food trucks and a stage set up for students to perform. The vendors were chosen specifically by the school staff. “We try to curate vendors who do handmade crafts. We want them to be reflective of the types of things our students do,” Merchant said. 

The Waldorf curriculum can include things that aren’t taught to the same level in traditional schools, like farming and arts. “We had a farm stand where we sold the produce that comes from our farm program. One of the vendors was beekeeper Douglas Harper. He helps the students with the bees that we keep behind the Lion’s Club. These things are directly connected to the students and what they do in school,” Merchant said. 

Another part of the curriculum is music. “The Harvest Festival is a nice showcase for the things we do at school. We set up a stage and had performances from students and classes,” Merchant said.  

Zurkan said that when the seasonal festival meets the curriculum and serves the community, it can be magical. “The intention is a truly magical celebration of the season that aligns with the values of Waldorf education. We work to keep it aligned with our school's mission so that it feels distinctly different from a carnival or media-rich event,” Zurkan said. 

With the right mix, Merchant said they’re on to something that is good for the whole community. “The feedback I’ve gotten is that families and children had a great time. We plan on doing it again next year. And we hope it continues to grow not just within our school, but for the entire community,” she said.