Tait Farm Summer Solstice Celebration supports local farms

Geoffrey Givler performs at Tait Farm’s Solstice Celebration on Saturday, June 21, 2014.
Geoffrey Givler performs at Tait Farm’s Solstice Celebration on Saturday, June 21, 2014. CDT photo

Summer is here.

And Saturday felt just like it should have — 74, humid and partly sunny.

To honor the day, Tait Farm held its fourth annual Summer Solstice Celebration to observe the new season, and raised money and awareness for the Centre County Farmland Trust.

“We have a very generous offering from the community that helps make this possible,” said Kim Tait, of Tait Farm.

The Centre County Farmland Trust was established in 1997 to help preserve farmland in Centre County, said Executive Director Sarah Walter.

Walter said the Summer Solstice Celebration is the organization’s largest fundraising event.

Last year, it raised about $1,500 — the first year it made money from the event. This year, organizers hope to exceed $2,000, Walter said.

“It’s just one of the great ways we work in partnership to reach out,” Walter said.

The event featured live local entertainment by Steve Treado, Geoffrey and Christina, Jim Colbert, Troupe X Local Tribal Belly Dancers, Anders Olsen and Gary Gyekis, and Gene Gibson.

Hayrides, children’s activities, a silent auction, and local food and beverage samplings were also a part of the event.

Establishments in attendance included The Deli, Mario’s, Elk Creek Café & Aleworks, Gamble Mill, Zola’s, Happy Valley Winery, Harrison’s Wine Grill, Mount Nittany Winery, Otto’s Pub and Brewery, Seven Mountains Wine Cellars and Tait Farm Foods.

“Our business isn’t just our business,” said Elk Creek owner Tim Bowser. “We’re here to support the community, and support local agriculture that keeps farmers and farmland in production. This is our way of connecting the dots with the community we serve.”

Elk Creek was giving samples of three home-brewed beers and its homemade soft pretzels, with spread made by Tait Farm.

Boalsburg resident Laura Hammil grew up on a farm in Bradford County.

Now, as a stay-at-home mother of two, Hammil said she still knows how important it is to give back to an organization that helps local farms prosper.

“It’s nice to be out and celebrate the start of summer finally, but it’s nicer to give back,” Hammil said. “I know firsthand that there isn’t always a bumper crop, but I know the trust helps.”

Annually, the fest brings in 400 to 500 visitors, Tait said.

“It’s something near and dear to my heart,” she said. “It’s something that’s really evolved into a nice fundraiser that does a lot.”