What’s the best volunteer gig in town? Donate some time to helping make Harvest at the Commons happen, and you can enjoy this marvelous local food dinner and dance event for free! There are many ways to plug in—from setting up chairs the day before to putting them away when the party’s over, and everything in between.
Beth Milligan and her friend Joe Beyer volunteered last year for the first time. They pitched in Friday, the day before the event, helping to decorate the dinner space inside the tent. That says a lot, because the tent is the largest event tent available in the whole state, and there's a lot of real estate for decorating. Beth and Joe climbed up and down their ladders a gazillion times hanging big red and gold paper lanterns from the light wires.
“It was fun,” Beth says. “We were given room to be creative, and the whole atmosphere was very collaborative, different people running around working on different things. It was just a lot of fun!”
As for what drew the couple to volunteer in the first place, Beth had gone to previous Harvest dinners in the past and really enjoyed the experience. When she learned that she could dive a little deeper into the event by volunteering and also receive a free ticket, that sealed the deal.
A great tip from Beth: “I recommend volunteering with somebody you know. It just makes a good experience that much better, and even more fun.” She also liked doing the day-prior set up shift, so on the day of the event they could immerse in the experience.
“It’s kind of a miracle to see this huge tent go up, and then see the dinner served and the band play and see that whole transformation … so when you are there early for setup and get to see all that magic come together it’s just very cool.”
What else draws her back to Harvest? “The act of sitting down at a big, long table and sharing food with neighbors and others—that’s a big part of it. I see so many people there from so many different parts of the community.”
And of course the food. “The dinner is the heart of it, and the food is lovingly prepared. You can tell the difference. And it’s served family style, so back to that idea of sharing. Sharing bread. Sharing salads. Sharing community. It’s all part of it.”