By Christine Weiser
March 11, the sixth annual Farm Family Celebration was held at the Hamburg
Field House. The event was another rousing success. Over 800 guests came
from five counties to show their appreciation to farm families who devote
themselves to this challenging life.
“This event is not a fundraiser,” says Pastor Mary Gade of Ziegels
Lutheran Church, Breinigsville. “It’s simply an opportunity
for farm families and supporters of farm families to come together and
have fun. There are no politics, just good, old-fashioned family fun.”
Indeed, fun was had by all. Flowers decorated the room in a beautiful
spring theme, and the Hoe-Down music of local band Lynn Eckert and The
Outlaws got everyone dancing. As in previous years, the delicious food
was catered by “Big John,” whose staff managed the amazing
feat of serving over 800 people in less than forty-five minutes.
A giant map of the five counties was hung in the room, and guests were
asked to mark their home locations on this map and the kind of farm they
operated (e.g., dairy, Christmas tree, cattle, crops). This was a great way
to help guests visualize the broad reach of the Farm Family Celebration.
Families enjoyed getting to know their neighbors and sharing stories
of the proud tradition of farming, where farm families have been supporting
each other for generations.
“Farm families are such a tight community and rely on each other to help
all the time,” says Pastor Gade. “When we went through the
recent droughts, we asked how we could help the farmers, but they all
said ‘we’re okay.’ We concluded that the best thing
we can offer the families is to show them our appreciation.”
Sponsors of the Farm Family Celebration included Diakon, several area
banks, many of the local granges, and both the Berks and Lehigh/Northampton
Penn State Extension offices. Through the great efforts of these sponsors
and dedicated volunteers, the Farm Family Celebration promises to become
an area tradition. Next year’s event is already planned for March
Celebrations like these remind us of the importance of local farming.
The next time you stop at a farm stand for freshly picked asparagus, or
ripe ear of corn, don’t forget to say, “Thank you.”