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The City Journals

Harvest Days 2015 Brings Community Together

Sep 09, 2015 12:02PM ● By Bryan Scott

Harvest Fun

Another year of the Midvale Harvest Days celebration brought residents together during the first week of August, with daily activities fit for people of all ages. 

Neighbors congregated in their streets for block parties, which spanned the weeklong event. The mayor, city councilmen, Unified Police Department and Unified Fire Authority joined in the celebration and made appearances at block parties. Councilmembers Paul Hunt said they tried to get to as many parties each night as they could, even though there were around 10 block parties per night.

“For us it is like a progressive dinner. We grab a cookie here and a hot dog there. It’s a really good time to be with people, not at city hall, but in their own houses and in their own yards,” Hunt said.

Edwin Meono, member of the UPA on the Harvest Days Committee, said the block parties are his favorite part of the festival because people can talk to and get to know the police force in a calm environment. 

“When you call the police, it is because you need us there. You needed us five minutes ago, and not because you want to call and say ‘hi.’ These block parties give us that opportunity for a non-stress environment, so that we can go and talk to them about any concern that they have. That’s very rewarding for us,” Meono said.

Sandi Romero, Terrel Circle block party planner, said she was delighted that Mayor JoAnn Seghini attended her block party on Aug. 4, even though it was the mayor’s birthday. Neveah Lingwall, Sandi’s granddaughter, used her new selfie stick to snap a picture with her grandma and Mayor JoAnn Seghini. 

“It was my first selfie and the mayor said it was her first selfie, too,” Romero said. “I’m glad we have that picture to look back on.” 

Local businesses donated snacks, water and supplies to the block parties. Some parties had over 70 attendees. 

Community members came together in a more formal setting on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Midvale Arts Center where two women were inducted into the Midvale City Hall of Honors and the new Midvale City Youth Ambassadors were recognized. 

The new youth ambassadors (Merry Joseph, Jacqueline Lopez, Nityam Rathi and Mary Ruff) presented their platforms in front of a full crowd. Afterward, the late Gloria Johnson, a lifelong Midvale resident, and Janet Bates Moore, Midvale Justice Court Victim Advocate, were announced as the newest additions to the Hall of Honors. 

Johnson served the community in the Parent Teacher Association, in various church responsibilities and in the Midvale Volunteer Arts Council. Moore has been affiliated with the Boys & Girls Club and helped form the Midvale Suicide Coalition. Moore expressed her thanks for the Midvale community. Johnson’s family members spoke on her behalf, as she passed away last year after battling cancer. 

At the same time as the ceremony, an art show/competition took place downstairs. Over 175 people came to see nearly 80 entries on display. Mill Creek Arts Council adjudicated the artwork in seven different categories – Traditional, Digital, Children, Youth, Literary, Heirloom and 3-D. Catherine Hosetter’s Flying with Dogs traditional piece took “Best in Show.” 

Eunice Harring entered three items into the competition. 

“I got the invitation to this competition in the mail. It inspired me, because art has always been a hobby for me,” she said. “My favorite piece I entered today is of a Mexican senorita. I’m from Mexico, and I love how art gives me an opportunity to celebrate where we come from.”  

Julie Harman, Ms. Utah and a Midvale resident, said that, for her, Harvest Days is a time to celebrate where the community is going. 

“I just love the word ‘harvest.’ I think it definitely represents what community is about. If you think about the harvest, the harvest is cultivating. It is about improving and being there for one another,” she said. “There couldn’t have been a better word for a festival, truly.”

Harman attended the Safety Fair and Bingo Night at the Midvale City Park Thursday, Aug. 7. She said the demonstrations and information at the fair lined up with her platform – Be Prepared, Be Responsible: A Focus on Self Reliance – which she will be taking to the national level in a few weeks. 

The fair included several interactive safety demonstrations including a canine demonstration, a car seat application demonstration, a chance for children to sit in an AirCare helicopter and a fire show, where a pre-planned fire was set inside a red boxcar that was designed to look like a living room. Harma n, and over 100 other folks, watched as two firefighters put out the flames before the ‘living room’ was entirely consumed. The furniture was badly charred after only four minutes of burn time. 

“These demonstrations can imprint on [kids] brains, so they remember to turn things off. Children don’t think about what could happen, but a fire like that could start from a video game or just being negligent or a lamp falling over,” Harman said. “As a single mom with two little kids, I’m happy I knew about this festival this week.” 

Tony Mason, Chief of Police, said he wished there had been a better turn-out since only a few hundred people came to the safety fair, but that the fair was worth it, if even a few people learned correct principles of safety. Mason said keeping the streets safe during the parade is even more challenging than planning the Safety Fair each year. 

Sheryn Daugherty, and other volunteer members of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), aided the UPA with safety regulations at the site of the parade following the Harvest Days Run and all-you-can-eat breakfast on the morning of Aug 8. She said 12 cars tried to get through the part of the parade site she was manning, but she directed them where to maneuver to maintain a safe environment for the community. This was Daugherty’s first event as a CERT member.

Shannon Middlemas and her husband were also first-time participants in the Harvest Days. Middlemas was one of the three judges of the parade entries. Sixty-seven entries fought for 12 awards including “Best City,” “Best Business,” and even “Funniest.” 

“Caesars Palace won the funniest category easily, because I don’t think anyone else was thinking about funny,” Middlemas said. “They were on these weird extreme bicycles with nice little costumes.” 

Mark Ziggler, who attended Harvest Days for the past 25 years, said his favorite all-time parade entry was when the Midvale North Stake built a Trax train float 12 years ago, but he said this year the beauty queens were his favorite participants. Although Ziggler said he liked the parade, he said he was overall dissatisfied with the Harvest Days. 

“We have seen Harvest Days evolve the wrong way. When we first got here, it seemed like there was an activity every night and something to do every day, but it has gotten to be not as much that way,” he said. “Some of our neighbors have gotten old, so the block parties have gone away. We lost part of what we enjoyed during the Harvest Days.” 

Ruby Ameo said that Harvest Days gets better and better for her family because the floats, people and activities are familiar and traditional. She said the parade this year was especially fun, because one of her sons was in the parade as part of the Hillcrest football team. Ameo’s other sons, Mikala, Randon, KO and Funaki, said their favorite parts of the parade were hearing the bagpipes, high-fiving the police officers and retrieving candy. The Ameo family also attended the Harvest Days Concert and Fireworks. 

Endless Summer began the musical event in the Midvale Park on the night of Aug 8. Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband followed and ushered in a colorful display of fireworks. Midvale’s long-standing festival tradition was adjourned this year, but Midvale residents can mark their calendars for a full week of events the first week of August for years to come.