By Adam Estabrook
The Hometown Harvest supper is returning for its 12th year on Sunday, November 10th, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM. This year it takes place at the American Legion in Blowing Rock, as a celebration of the Blowing Rock community and a chance for people to get together and share a meal.
Attendance is free, and open to the public – one need not live in Blowing Rock to attend. All that’s required to bring is a covered dish of your choice. Attendees are also encouraged to bring canned foods and/or cash donations, which will be collected for Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S. (a charity aiming to provide non-perishable foods to those in need in Watauga County) and Casting Bread Food Pantries (a self-choice food pantry and soup kitchen).
Rita White is president at Blowing Rock Historical Society, an organization founded to preserve the historical character of Blowing Rock. She is also a major contributor to the Hometown Harvest supper, and is also responsible for publicizing the event.
When speaking to us, she recounted the earlier Hometown Harvests, how they were originally held at the fire station, and how full the place was during her first visit in 2010. “It was standing room only,” she told us, “and I sat on the floor and ate. It was packed.”
The Hometown Harvest eventually left the fire station due to road construction, landing at the Blowing Rock high school up until this year, taking place now in the American Legion. There’ll be decorations with pumpkins, with various organizations and individuals contributing to the event. The Blowing Rock Historical Society is one such organization, although Rita, speaking as its president, stressed repeatedly that this is not a Historical Society event. “I have been trying to keep participating,” she told us, “but not take [Hometown Harvest] over. We don’t want to take credit. We just want it to happen.”
Rita recounted the response to last year’s supper fondly, how she had “…people come up and say, ‘This is my favorite thing, how can I help next year?’” She then emphasized the roles the various members of the community play in the success of the event. Mayor Charlie Sellers will offer a few words of introduction to the attendees with an acknowledgement of Veterans Day, and Lynn Lawrence will lead in song. Father Andrews, the new rector of St. Mary’s Church, will give blessing. And the women’s club will also host a baking contest for their second year.
Rita also emphasized the charities present, stressing that contributions and donations are encouraged and appreciated. She cited one figure to us from 2015, how Casting Bread had received 341 pounds of food and 200 dollars in cash from that Hometown Harvest supper. “It’s amazing. We get quite the amount of stuff piled up in the corner.”