The first annual Harvest Heritage Day Celebration is asking for donations from local gardeners of their large zucchini, pumpkins or squash so they can be dressed in clothes during the event.
Yes, that’s right; dressed up like little people. The “Dressed Vegetable and Fruit” table is one of the more unique parts of the Harvest Heritage Day event, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23, from 1-5 p.m. at the Eastern California Museum, 155 N. Grant St., in Independence. The Independence Civic Club has volunteered to bring “dressed vegetables” to show during the event, and also provide tips to those new to the craft of dressing vegetables.
“It seems putting clothes on large vegetables is somewhat of a family tradition for Mary Roper and Nancy Masters,” said Museum Director Jon Klusmire of the Civic Club stalwarts and the lead volunteers at the “Dressed Vegetable Table.”
“This might help to explain their infatuation with fruitcake and shed further light on their fascinating fascination with largely inedible objects,” he quipped.
Roper and Masters, of course, are also the leading lights of the Independence International Fruitcake Festival.
Members of the public are encouraged to bring their large vegetables to the event, clothed or naked, and as Roper noted, “Don’t forget the fruits,” meaning that apples, peaches and other garden fare are fair game for “dressing.”
The Harvest Heritage Day event is free to the public and is fashioned after the Harvest Festivals held in each town in the Owens Valley in the early 20th Century, Klusmire said. The museum and the Friends of the Eastern California Museum are attempting to revive this rich tradition of celebrating the coming fall season and admiring the bounty of the growing season in the valley.
The public is also encouraged to bring homemade baked goods with a fall theme to the festival. Apple pies and cobblers, peach pie, cookies and other goodies will be displayed and then eaten. Gardeners can also show off the fruits and vegetables of their labor (providing they don’t want said produce dressed). Free hot dogs, chili, desserts and drinks will be provided during the event, and popular local band, Sandy and the High Country, will be entertaining.
There will also be a variety of kids’ games and activities offered, including bobbing for apples, pumpkin painting, pin-the-tail-on the scarecrow and other events.
Local historian Jane Wehrey will present her program, “Three Marys of Mazanar: Remembering Autumn’s Layered Past,” in the museum at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m.
For more information about volunteering for the Harvest Heritage Day, or suggestions about what food and fruits and vegetables to donate, call the museum at (760) 878-0258 (large veggie delivery from Bishop can also be arranged).