Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Tents and fresh-picked produce abounded as Villa Maria Community Center presented its 13th annual Harvest Day Celebration.
This year, for the first time, the event was a two-day affair. Although the weather was a bit cold and windy, the sun shone brightly, so it didn’t hamper the enthusiasm of an expected 1,000 visitors.
According to Villa Marketing Director Julie Arena, the celebration began as a way of thanking the volunteers who give their time for the center’s farm. Thirteen years ago, Villa Maria decided to make the event public as a fundraiser to benefit the farm.
This year’s proceeds will go toward constructing a wind tunnel near the green house, which will increase the growing season available to the farm.
Among the Harvest Day highlights was the food, made fresh with as much of the Villa’s own homegrown ingredients as possible. Stir-frys and veggie wraps contained products from the farm, and meatball sandwiches and pastas featured Villa Maria’s homemade sauce.
Yet the highlight and most popular item was the butternut squash soup. Bowls of the warm, deliciously sweet soup were flying out of the tent where it was being served. The soup is so popular that for the first time this year it was being sold in take-home quarts as well as bowls.
Other highlights of the festival included a games area; a climbing wall for kids; a chance to make your own herb-infused vinegar with herbs picked only hours before from the Villa’s gardens; informational displays on the Villa’s services and opportunities; a hayride, crafts; and, of course, a huge display and sale of pumpkins.