It was in early August that the Gem County Chamber of Commerce announced that the annual Harvest Festival was cancelled. Concerns about COVID vendors not following through and how to fund the event were some of the main concerns cited at that time for the cancellation.
When Shantel Patchett, a Sweet resident and local vendor, heard the news, she was frustrated. That frustration ultimately led to a passion project and a desire to create her own event, “The Freedom Harvest Festival.” Set to take place on the same day that Harvest Festival was to be on.
“First Cherry Festival got cancelled, then Harvest Festival got cancelled and I realized if I don’t do something soon, there wouldn’t be another event for the rest of the year,” said Patchett. “Change will not happen unless you stand up.”
The Freedom Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. at the Mitchell Industrial Park, located at 1050 Cascade Road.
Patchett, who is both a mother and an artisan, understands the implications of what these events being cancelled does financially.
“I’m tired of it,” she said. “My husband lost his job from covid and has had to travel throughout the United States looking for work, and as a vendor, when these events get cancelled, that means I’m not able to sell anything. People need to make a living.”
Put simply, the Freedom Harvest Festival is about respect and freedom. The freedom to gather, to enjoy life and to make a living.
Mask wearing and social distancing will not be enforced, but it is not prohibited to do so. Patchett believes it is your freedom and your choice to do what you feel comfortable with.
“Your freedom and rights are your choice,” said Patchett. “I want everyone to feel respected and I don’t want anyone to feel singled out. This isn’t about politics, but rather, having a good time.”
Joy Bromley, an Ada County resident who grew up in Emmett, couldn’t agree more. Bromley, like many others, is backing Patchett and will be in attendance at the festival.
“We’re going through this crazy time in the world right now and I want to be there to support others,” said Bromley. “I want to be able to get outside, enjoy life and be happy!”
Freedom Harvest Festival is currently seeking sponsors for the event. There is a need for entertainers, vendors, photographers, kids games and fall decorations such as corn husks, scarecrows, pumpkins, etc. as well as hay bales for seating. Other ideas mentioned were hay rides, pumpkin carving and face painting.
The deadline for being a vendor or entertainer is September 19th.
If interested in being a part of the Freedom Harvest Festival or helping, contact Patchett at 208-912-5416 or on Facebook at “Shantel Patchett”.
Frontier Cinema will be playing a drive-in feature film after the festival.