Crowds of families – and even Maplewood mayor Victor DeLuca – gathered in Seth Boyden’s sprawling Outdoor Learning Center for the school’s ninth annual Harvest Festival this past Saturday, October 15.
An array of fall-themed activities, crafts, and games greeted the hundreds of attendees. The Montclair Art Museum Art Truck hosted leaf and stick decorating, and parent volunteers staffed tables for painting pumpkins, making fairy houses, and pickled cucumbers from the school vegetable garden. Kids played football, competed in friendly sack races, and flocked to a bounce house with inflatable slide. Pony Share of Morristown provided a steady stream of pony rides. The school’s favorite DJ, district Spanish teacher Stephen Carberry, spun a wide mix of tunes, from Depeche Mode to salsa to the Jackson Five.
Food was abundant, as always. More than a dozen Seth Boyden parents brought crocks of chili prepared with the school’s signature recipe. Principal Damion Frye manned the grill. Among the myriad homemade baked goods, the many trays of cupcakes were standouts, submitted for a contest judged by Mayor DeLuca and Principal Frye. Cupcake toppers included wide-eyed owls and marshmallow-headed skeletons.
The festival took full advantage of the school’s new three-part Outdoor Classroom, completed earlier this year. The stools and tables of the main teaching space offered places for families to sit, chat, and work on crafts. In the performance circle, kids donned costumes for a photo booth; in the art nook, they drew on the concrete pavement in sidewalk chalk.
“This event celebrates so much of what makes Seth Boyden such a wonderful school,” said Susan Holtz, a Seth Boyden parent and one of the organizers of the festival. “It’s the small things that make it special: children and parents spending time in the crisp fall air, and everyone working together to turn tiny pieces of nature into beautiful crafts, delicious food, and fun games. It cannot come together without the help of the whole community, and the fact that it does, every year, is amazing.”