Green Harvest Festival in Wheatland inspires community

James Meyer/Special to the Gazette A collection of photographs taken at the Green Harvest Festival in Wheatland.

WHEATLAND – Platte County Main Street held the 13th iteration of the Green Harvest Festival Aug. 23 - 28. The events were held in and around Wheatland.

“From the get-go it was meant to be a family-oriented event,” said Dan Brecht, owner of the Wandering Hermit. “So, the emphasis is placed on having things for kids to do and families to do.”

The Green Harvest Festival is officially sponsored by the Platte County Main Street.

“So, this is actually a Platte County Main Street event,” said Brecht. “So, our Main Street program hosts the event and being a member of Platte County Main Street it’s my pet event.”

“A lot of different members of our Platte County Main Street adopt an event and they do that. They are the ones in charge, so this is my event.”

Though Platte County Main Street may sponsor the festival, according to Brecht, there is a collaborative effort among the various businesses the participate.

“A lot of the businesses downtown all do their part,” said Brecht. “For example, this year, the Quilt Whisperer and the Library are hosting the quilt show.”

One of the Festival’s accompanying events, the quilt show was held all week in the basement of the Platte Count Public Library.

“Dan Brecht asked us to sponsor it,” said Mary Ann Stinnette, co-owner of the Quilt Whisperer. “And I thought it was a great idea.”

The show contained a total of 31 entries. visitors to the show could participate in a People’s Choice vote and cast up to three times to select a winner.

Stinnette has been quilting for eight years. Her mother got her interested in the activity.

“When I bought my first longarm, I kept my quilting business separate from my fabric business,” said Stinnette. “I decided to call myself the Quilt Whisperer because the quilts tell me what they want on them.”

Stinnette is supportive of the festival and other events that support the community. She has even helped the community on her own accord.

“I’m very supportive of that and anything that’s going on in the community,” said Stinnette.

“If there’s somebody that’s hurt, sick, or needs help with medical expenses, we’ve been known to donate a large quilt for them to raffle off. Anything to help the community.”

Another event which was a part of the festival was the Garden Tour held Friday evening. Five Wheatland citizens allowed visitors to visit their personal gardens and learn about the techniques they used.

Shelly Marker, the owner of Holy Sprouts, was one of the gardeners willing to let strangers visit her gardens. This was her first time participating in the festival.

“It has been absolutely fantastic,” said Marker. “I would love to keep working with the festival if they’ll have me.”

As a business, Holy Sprouts is four years old. It provides starter plants for gardens and cut flowers for arrangement.

“It started with vegetable starter plants for the garden,” said Marker. “It has grown into flower starter plants, then into a cut flower business.

“But the thing that is unique is that all of my plants I start from seed myself. This year I had about 1,400 plants I started from seed.”

The idea for Holy Sprouts was that Marker saw a market niche that wasn’t being filled, so she filled it herself.

“I love to grow and I love to farm,” said Marker. “There wasn’t anybody that sold plants that they started from seed themselves. So, I decided to try it.”

Most of the Festival events were held Saturday. The earliest event was the Farmer’s Market which started at eight a.m. and lasted until noon.

At nine a.m. the pet parade began. The pet parade started in the parking lot of Frontier Furniture and wound its way through downtown Wheatland before finishing at the Public Library.

As its overseer, Dan Brecht believes that events like the festival and organizations like Platte County Main Street are beneficial to places like Wheatland by reviving local downtowns.

“We knew that there existed a program, who emphasis was to help downtowns become rejuvenated,” said Brecht.

“The program goes back to a time when people and businesses were leaving downtowns all over the country in hordes. So, the program was a way to try to stop that and reverse that trend.”

According to Brecht, Wheatland has not been unaffected by this trend.

“After the powerplant was finished, downtown Wheatland was never a ghost town, but it was sparse for a while,” said Brecht.

“So, the program really works to give people skills that they can use to try to promote downtowns and bring them back to their former glory.”

The reason to host events in a downtown is because it is a central area to bring people together and provides more pedestrian access.

“Events are one part of what the Main Street program is about,” said Brecht. “But it’s only one part of it. We feel that the events are important because it brings people downtown.”

“Your downtowns are very pedestrian friendly. Things are compact,” said Brecht. “But it makes sense to do events downtown because of the pedestrian setting.”

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James Meyer/Special to the Gazette A collection of photographs taken at the Green Harvest Festival in Wheatland.

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