By Samantha Johnson
August 22, 2023
Harvest is here and it’s time to celebrate! The long days (well, months) of hard work have yielded their results and everyone has earned a rest. That means it’s the perfect time to throw a party!
“Not so fast,” you say! “I’m tired from all those long days of hard work. A party sounds fun, but hosting it sounds complicated and time-consuming and I’m not interested.”
Nonsense! It’s easier than you think to host a simple-yet-memorable harvest party, and you’ll be surprised at how much fun you have. Here are a few tips to get started.
Keep it simple
You know you won’t do it if you make it too complicated, so go easy on your plans. You can host a lovely party with good food, fun, and conversation and it doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. (You could even go picnic-style with paper plates—guests will enjoy it just the same.)
Plan a menu that works
If you love preparing vast quantities of food for gatherings, then go for it and enjoy! If not, then look for ways to simplify the meal. Do you want to include a complete meal at your party? Maybe drinks and snacks are sufficient for a mid-afternoon party.
Or go the potluck route and ask guests to bring a dish. Or order take-out and bring in a bunch of pizzas. Flip open the boxes and dig in.
Highlight the harvest
Harvest is the reason for the season, after all, so incorporate the harvest theme where you can in your food and activities. Ideas:
To keep your party simple, opt for a modest guest list. Close friends, family, and people who helped during the harvest season are a great place to start.
If you prefer a larger crowd, you might consider an open-house type of party where guests will come and go at different times, allowing you to visit with more people but without having a large crowd all together at once.
It isn’t a party without music, but of course everyone’s taste in music is different. Everyone can agree on one thing, though: live music is fun. Do you have any family members with musical inclinations? A nephew who plays guitar? A cousin with a fiddle? Two neighbors who sound like Brooks & Dunn? Even if they only play a song or two, it’s a treat for your guests to enjoy the music.
If live music isn’t an option, choose a playlist of songs that suit your occasion.
Weather or not?
Of course we always envision a beautifully sunny day with no mosquitoes and temps of 72 degrees. But if adverse weather threatens, you’ll want to have a back-up plan. This might be as simple as announcing that you’ll postpone the party until the following week, or you could choose an alternate location in a barn or machine shed. Renting a large tent is another option.
Share the bounty
A surplus of bounty is a lovely thing to share, and if your harvest has been abundant in some area or another, why not share some of the abundance with your guests? A small bag of fresh apples makes a delightful gift, or maybe you have a few extra jars of homemade jam that you’d like to share. Honey is a sweet treat and one your guests are sure to love.
About the author
Samantha Johnson is a writer, farm girl, and the author of more than a dozen books on rural living. She lives on a farm in northern Wisconsin with a colorful herd of Welsh Mountain Ponies, a bossy Welsh Corgi, and a wide assortment of tomato plants. View her portfolio at samanthajohnson.contently.com
Why Not Make It An Annual Festival?
You could! After all, what’s a festival but a long, ongoing party?
Many people have edged into agrotourism in just this way. Plus, if you have people-friendly backyard animals, nothing brings folks to the farm like a pony ride, or chance to pet a goat or sheep or chicken.
Better still, a festival presents an opportunity to sell goods you produce, whether it’s fruit, honey, wool, or late-season garden produce. Offer enough, and you can charge admission.