Norman Bird Sanctuary announced this evening that they welcomed thousands of community members to the 45th annual Harvest Fair on Saturday and Sunday October 5th & 6th.  

“We are delighted to report that the Harvest Fair raised a record-breaking $104,000,” said Norman Bird Sanctuary Executive Director Kaity Ryan in a press release. “These funds provide critical support for our mission to protect 325 acres of wildlife habitat and provide environmental education opportunities for the entire community.”

Fairgoers enjoyed children’s games, pony rides, a hayride, midway games, a petting zoo, a mud pit, and the Mabel Express barrel train, and children’s crafts, among other old-fashioned fair activities.  

Throughout the weekend Norman Bird Sanctuary’s environmental educators offered exhibits in the Education Tent and led live animal presentations.  Family Entertainment Tent performances included Skip Daniels Magic, Newport Children’s Theatre, Marvelous Marvin’s Brain Circus, music by Christopher “Kavi” Carbone, and Mary King music and storytelling.

For adults, Newport native Tanya Donelly, of Belly and Throwing Muses fame, performed a sold-out 45th Harvest Fair Anniversary benefit concert, with prominent musician friends, including several members of the band Belly, Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom, Bob Kendall, and the Parkington Sisters.  

Ragged Island Beer Garden and Music Tent featured local musicians Mark Cutler, Smith & Weeden, Silverteeth, The Weisstronauts, Los Duderinos, John Faraone, Long Trees, The CarLeans, Melissa Chaplin, and Andie Belle.

Fifteen non-profit organizations shared their work, and 70 local crafters sold hand-made products, under 20,000 square feet of tent.  A Home and Garden competition showcased the talents of local gardeners, growers, canners, and bakers.

To celebrate the Harvest Fair’s 45th anniversary, Norman Bird Sanctuary launched an environmental sustainability initiative, in partnership with Clean Ocean Access.  Volunteers helped to capture more than 1,092 pounds of material for recycling and 2,400 pounds of food scraps for composting, with 79% of waste from the event diverted from Rhode Island’s landfill.  

Graphic provided by Clean Ocean Access

Fifteen food vendors served up fresh, local food using sustainable materials, and many fairgoers brought their own reusable water bottles, cups, shopping bags, and utensils.  Fairgoers who rode their bikes to the event received $1.00 off Harvest Fair admission.

“More than 300 volunteers, and 17 different planning committees, make this community event possible,” said Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Event Director, Lesley Muir in the press release.  “We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from volunteers, and so many generous sponsors, who contribute to the success of the Harvest Fair.”  

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.