For the last 17 years, rain or shine, growers at Juneau's Community Garden have honored the germination, cultivation and harvesting of fruits, vegetables and flowers grown in the mostly organic beds that cover roughly three acres of land located at 5669 Montana Creek Road.
This year is no exception.
Pat Harris, secretary of the board for the Juneau Community Garden, said this year's 18th annual Harvest Fair, like in past years, is all about encouraging people to grow their own food.
"It's just kind of a celebration for the whole community of gardening in Juneau," she said. "(But) it's for the whole community and we are encouraging all Juneau gardeners to participate."
The event, which kicks off 9 a.m. Saturday, consists of produce and flower exhibits, a farmers' market, kids activities, live music, opportunities to reserve plots for next year, to chat with other gardeners and to get tips on what works and what doesn't in Juneau's temperate rain forest climate. Which, as residents know, his not always easy or predictable. But Harris said there's a few new and exciting things being cultivated in the garden this year.
"I've seen some artichokes in the garden and I've seen some large fennel plants," she said.
Then there is the corn. Harris said that crop is a challenge to grow in Southeast Alaska, but a few plants this year show promise with their already-formed tassels.
"We'll see if they produce any corn," she said.
There are also some types of produce sure to be in abundance. Attendees will certainly find potatoes, rhubarb, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, chard, kale, cabbage and garlic.
Harris said the food sales from the concessions and all proceeds from the market will go toward supporting the community garden association which, as a nonprofit, depends on such fundraisers.
"The (money) goes back to fund the garden," she said. "We're always buying tools, or fixing tools, plus we have to buy amendments for the garden such as brewery grain, top soil, ground cloths for the plots not being used and also to put on various events."
Other events organized by the group include the annual Rhubarb Festival and assorted barbecues, she said.
This year's fair happenings will feature activities for kids and families, including a game called "Chicken bingo" in which participants predict which numbers on a board will be the first to receive chicken poo from the birds wandering around above.
"Whoever guesses where the chicken will poop first, wins a bag of chicken manure," Harris said. "The kids particularly enjoy this game."
Jerry Fiscus and his band-mates will also be jamming at the fair, and Harris said past years have also featured balloon flowers and veggies courtesy of Jeff Brown.
Regardless of what the weather has in store for the weekend, the fair will continue as it has for years.
And, as always, it is free and open to the public.
For more information on the event or about the Juneau Community Garden, go online to juneaucommunitygarden.org.
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