Future Festival: Thank you!

Julie Keefer

Thank you!

As Chairperson of the 7th Annual Huss Future Festival, I want to express my deepest appreciation to the community for their wonderful support and attendance.  This community festival and fundraiser, held July 23, was a day full of activities that brought in over 700 visitors, community partners and volunteers and was our largest fundraising festival to date!

Once again we partnered with the Three Rivers Area Faith Community (TRAFC) to host the Back-to-School Celebration.  We saw a lot of families coming to the festival and joining in the fun along with getting their backpack and school supplies.  A very special thank you to Frankie’s By The Tracks in Three Rivers who donated pizzas to give a slice of pizza to each student that picked up a backpack. This year’s Community Carnival allowed us to partner with local organizations: Three Rivers Public Library, Great Start Parent Coalition, Florence Church of the Brethren Mennonite, Kinship Care Support Group of St. Joseph County, Community Mental Health-Substance Abuse, Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services, Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph County Community Health Agency, St. Joseph County Central Dispatch 9-1-1 for Kids, and Three Rivers Area Mentoring.  We also had local farms donate generous amounts of produce for our mini farmer’s market.  A big thank you to those farms: Huss Project Farm, White Yarrow Farm, Bair Lane Farm, Corey Lake Orchards, and Butternut Sustainable Farm.  We also had many activities for kids, a rummage sale, art vendors, art installations and a gallery featuring local artists, a bake sale/coffeehouse featuring the Speaking Stone Cafe, and live music highlighting amazing local talent.

We at the Huss Project enjoy putting the F-U-N in FUNdraising! This year we were able to partner with the Three Rivers Police Department to “arrest” Mayor Tom Lowry for having too many books and attempting to educate the masses.  He was “locked up” on the Huss fire escape for two hours as festivalgoers had the opportunity to donate to his bail.  Local attorney Luke Nofsinger pleaded the Mayor’s case to “Judge” Diane Clay for his ultimate release.  The money raised in this specific fundraiser is all going towards refurbishing the heating system in the wood shop at Huss for year-round use. We are grateful to our community volunteers who were good sports for a good cause.

The Huss Project is a program of *culture is not optional (*cino).  One of our ten core values is “Faithful Presence”—we seek to grow deep roots where we are planted, affirming our community’s gifts and actively caring for its needs.  As I looked around me throughout the festival, a community of folks who celebrate and practice this idea with joy and dedication surrounded me.

We continue to invite people to the Huss Project by joining us each Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. for our gardening work nights, where we help grow food for neighbors in need. People can also join the efforts of the Huss Project Farm by purchasing our produce at the Three Rivers Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 1-6 p.m. in Scidmore Park.

I am very thankful to the planning committee, *cino volunteer staff and interns, and a whole host of volunteers for all their dedication to Huss Future Festival and all the activities taking place at the property. It is an absolute delight to work alongside people who have the same passion and vision to see a Three Rivers historic building preserved and turned into something full of creativity and possibility.

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