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Juneau Community Garden hosting Annual Harvest Fair on Aug. 28

Posted: August 13, 2011 - 7:09pm  |  Updated: August 13, 2011 - 7:13pm

A Farmers Market, hot dog and chili lunch, exhibits of award-winning produce and flowers, garden tours, live music, balloon animals, chicken poop bingo: The Juneau Community Garden hosts it 19th annual Harvest Fair, Sunday, Aug. 28.

Public activities start at 11:30 a.m. and close 2 p.m. The event is free. Juneau’s oldest and largest community garden is located on the east side of the Mendenhall Valley, at 5669 Montana Creek Road. Parking is available at the garden or along the road near the garden entrance.

Garden members donate bounty from their plots for the popular Farmers’ Market.

The market sells lettuce, chard, kale, zucchini, carrots, beets, turnips, edible pea pods, flowers, rhubarb stalks and herbs.

Members also donate jellies, jams and preserves. Sales are usually brisk once the Farmer’s Market opens at 11:30 a.m.

The Harvest Fair hosts a competition of locally-grown produce, both fresh and preserved.

All Juneau gardeners are invited to participate, especially members of other community gardens and young gardeners. They can submit entries between 9:30 and 10:30 Sunday morning.

Entry forms will be available at the garden and at the UAF Cooperative Extension office at the Bill Ray Center. For entry requirements in the adult and youth categories, visit the garden website at www.juneaucommunitygarden.org.

Master gardener Ed Buyarski will lead the panel of local judges. The exhibit opens at noon for viewing, and prizes are awarded at 1 p.m. Entries in Division B — the largest and most unusual vegetables — always draw a big crowd.

“The exhibits give the public a chance to see what people can grow in Juneau,” says Juneau Community Garden board member Pat Harris. “The competition spurs some gardeners to grow items that are not commonly found in Southeast Alaska gardens, like pumpkins and artichokes.”

Harvest Fair food sales feature home-made chili and desserts along with hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob and beverages. Children’s activities include the popular chicken poop bingo (with live chickens) and Jeff Brown tying his balloon animals. Gerry Fiscus and Friends will play folk music.

Juneau photographers are invited to submit images of gardens, flowers or vegetables for the exhibit in the pump house shed. Photos should be matted and 5” x 7” or larger. Fair attendees vote for their favorite photos.

Current garden members can renew their plot rentals at the Harvest Fair, plus a few unworked plots will be available for new members to rent.

The garden has 161 plots. About 100 people pay $35 a year to work the 10’x20’ beds.

Guided tours of the garden are available on during the fair.

The Juneau Community Garden is a nonprofit organization formed in 1993 with the help of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners. The Harvest Fair is the garden’s major annual fund-raiser.

The garden maintains a water system, an electric fence, provides soil amendments like sand and brewery grain, rents an outhouse during the summer months, and hires heavy equipment to manage the soil amendments and garden refuse.

The garden’s board of directors is currently working on a plan to process the large volume of garden weeds and refuse in a hot composting system.

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