By Nicholas Moore | Photo by Chelsea Flint
Each year, Harvest Homecoming gives us more than delicious chicken and dumplings and great entertainment – it gives lots of money directly back to our community.
The festival sponsors the Miss Harvest Homecoming, Miss Harvest Homecoming Teen and Miss Harvest Homecoming Preteen pageants, giving young women ages 10 to 24 the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in scholarships. Additionally, for the second year, the festival has arranged a partnership with the city offering interested parents discounted all-day Fiesta Ride bracelets. The festival also raises money for the WHAS Crusade for Children, and it frequently donates money to local church groups, bands and athletic groups in exchange for volunteer assistance.
One of the most anticipated Harvest Homecoming philanthropic events is The Kevin Hammersmith Memorial Scholarships: “Who Wants to be a College Student?” competition, a live trivia competition modeled after ABC-TV’s game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” (Hammersmith was a previous Harvest Homecoming president who began the competition in 2001; he passed away in 2011.) Any high school senior who resides in Floyd County is eligible to play. Every contestant wins at least $450 and has the chance to win up to $1,800. Harvest Homecoming gives out between $11,000 and $12,000 per year via this contest and has awarded upwards of $150,000 since it began 14 years ago.
“Anybody can win. They’re going to draw your name. This might be somebody that might not have had a chance to get a scholarship anywhere else,” said Jane Alcorn, Harvest Homecoming vice president of marketing and “Who Wants to be a College Student?” director said. These kind of philanthropic efforts are integral to the mission of Harvest Homecoming. “If you’re going to do something that’s one of the largest festivals in the state,” Alcorn said, “I think it’s almost your responsibility … to give back.”
If you’ve never been to Harvest Homecoming, mark your calendar. The 48th annual festival of food, entertainment, contests, and commerce takes place every October in downtown New Albany. There’s a reason it’s the third-largest festival in the state of Indiana: It’s a blast. You’ll see people you haven’t seen for years (or at least since last year’s festival), soak in the smells and tastes of delicious comfort foods, and enjoy the smiles, laughs, and memory-making with people you care about. It’s a local festival that has gotten really big yet managed to keep its charm.
Perhaps one of the best parts about Harvest Homecoming – there are plenty of free activities for the whole family to enjoy. A full schedule can be found on the Harvest Homecoming website and at the downtown office.
“(Harvest Homecoming),” said Vice President of Volunteer Management Courtney Lewis, “brings us back to that familial feeling and fellowship that our community is all about.”
October 3 – 11
Downtown New Albany, IN
Photo by Chelsea Flint
From Left to Right: Rene Koch, Amy Cummins, Cara Brown, Tracy Agnew, Courtney Lewis, Haley White, Vanessa Braswell and Beth White, all of whom are Harvest Homecoming officials.