Zenger Farm celebrates with summer Hoedown

Here’s why music, food, and fun make this a delightful down-on-the-farm festivity …

Guests are gathering as the 2017 Zenger Farm Hoedown gets underway, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Throughout the year, it’s the voices of youngsters one will hear, either at summer camps or after-school gatherings, ringing out at Zenger Farm.

But, it was definitely a family affair on the afternoon and evening of July 22, as their third annual Hoedown attracted some 500 guests.

As the 2017 Hoedown gets started, Zenger Farm Administrative Assistant Vini Nguyen checks in guest Anne Tegtmeier.

On the “set”, event photographer Patrick F. Smith spends a moment with Zenger Farm Executive Director Mike Wenrick.

“The Hoedown is a fundraiser to support the food security, access, and education programs here at Zenger Farm, said Zenger Farm Executive Director Mike Wenrick.

“Supporting food security means exactly that – because most of the classes, camps and activities here are subsidized; and because we’re a nonprofit organization, so we count on grants and fundraising events to help support these programs,” Wenrick told East Portland News.

Kids’ entertainer Red Yarn plays and sings delightful songs.

Gathered at tables on the porch of the Urban Grange, guests enjoy the bounty of the farm.

“For example we have about 10,000 kids a year who will come through Zenger Farm for educational programs; we’re subsidizing 90% of the cost, through fundraising,” Wenrick related. “These fundraising events are really critical to help us do what we do, supporting the community through education and food access programs.”

Good wholesome fun is the idea of hoedown, Wenrick said; guests enjoy dinner, beverages – including the adult variety – enjoy live music and dancing, and eating ice cream

Community Cook volunteer Roxanna Pena cooks pupusas on the grill.

Staci Howlett and Suvi Mirka of Salt & Straw dish up ice cream.

“Instead of hiring a catering company, we have a mighty group of about 50 volunteers – from musicians, to cooks, to community chefs, and others –who put on this event,” Wenrick smiled. “The best part, for me, is seeing the farm full of families, and especially the kids.

“It’s just great energy to have a low-cost way for people to get involved, come enjoy the farm and the beauty of the wetlands, see our vegetables growing, and really open our space up to the community,” concluded Wenrick.

Learn more about Zenger Farm by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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