BRENTWOOD -- Although the Brentwood CornFest is on hiatus this year, a new festival this summer will celebrate the region's bounty of seasonal produce. The Brentwood Harvest Time Festival will debut July 12-13 in downtown City Park, the same weekend usually earmarked for CornFest.
City Councilman Steve Barr and his wife, Kathy, who have experience organizing both the CornFest and the Brentwood Art, Wine & Jazz Festival, will facilitate the event.
"Kathy and I are very excited to bring an event downtown to City Park and to be working with the local farmers to create a celebration that showcases our agricultural heritage," he said.
Event admission will be free; features include live music, a local produce area, a kids' section and beer, wine and food for sale. In future years, organizers hope to move the event to June during the popular U-pick cherry season and draw in outside visitors to promote agri-tourism as a niche for Brentwood.
"I would like to encourage agri-tourism, and the cherries do it without any help. Why not just coincide with those visitors all downtown?" Barr said. "The residents want something in City Park, and I am excited about having something in the park again."
In past years, both the Brentwood CornFest and Brentwood Art, Wine & Jazz Festival were held downtown before the park's renovation and the new Brentwood City Hall and Community Center. According to Barr, this new festival will focus on family and agriculture.
"Our hope is to have some educational opportunities for the young kids in town that don't know much about ag. We can have the farming families be part of that," he said. "It is a way to connect local school-age kids with ag.
"It is right in their backyard, and they don't understand how much is produced in the Brentwood area."
Harvest Time, a Brentwood nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about farming and its related products, also will work with the Downtown Brentwood Coalition and the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce on marketing the first event. Promoting agri-tourism locally is a major push for Harvest Time after launching a free app this past fall that provides local dining, shopping and lodging information to the 180,000 visitors of local farms and U-pick stands annually.
"We will be promoting (the festival) at the 50 U-picks," said Peggie Schuitemaker, Harvest Time's director of marketing "A lot of people think it is just cherries and peaches. (Harvest season) is throughout the year."
Harvest Time also has launched a 2014 membership and sponsorship drive aimed at motivating local businesses, individuals and corporations to buy listings on the app. It also plans to collaborate with the successful Brentwood Grown and Buy Fresh/Buy Local campaigns to educate consumers about the freshness of U-pick shopping.
"Our local farmers love to farm, but the marketing part is the difficult part," Barr said. "Harvest Time will hopefully bridge that gap."