Arts & Leisure

Celebrate our migrant neighbors at a new fall festival in New Haven

WENDY GIRON AND her crew with La Chapina will be New Haven on Oct. 1 to sell Guatemalan fare at the Journey Festival on the town green and school soccer field.

Chris Urban will facilitate a bi-lingual panel discussion with local migrant farmworkers to help educate the community about migrant farmworkers' lives in both their home countries and on farms in Addison County.

Fall festivals are times to have fun and also opportunities to build community. An Oct. 1 festival in New Haven will give all Addison County residents a chance to meet and learn more about a segment of our community that many people aren’t familiar with — farmworkers who come to Vermont from Mexico and Central America.

A community festival celebrating the contributions of migrant farmworkers to New Haven and Addison County will be held on the New Haven Town Green on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Journey Festival is centered around the Vermont Humanities “Vermont Reads” book for 2022-23, “The Most Costly Journey — Stories from Migrant Farmworkers in Vermont Drawn by New England Cartoonists.” The book is a series of stories about the journey and survival as told by migrant workers at the Open Door Clinic in Middlebury.

The New Haven Congregational Church, the New Haven Community Library, the New Haven Events Committee and local volunteers are organizing an event that will focus on celebrating our migrant farmworkers in Addison County while providing opportunities for community connections between the farmworkers and their neighbors.

The festival will begin on the town green with traditional Mexican music, Guatemalan food from La Chapina for purchase, and crafts and games for the kids. Cartoonist and New Haven resident Kevin Kite will man a cartooning table, so you can stop and ask questions and see how the illustrations are made.

There will also be booths where you can collect information about the Open Door Clinic, Migrant Justice, Addison Allies, the New Haven Congregational Church and the New Haven Library.

Handwoven baskets from San Jose Monteverde in Oaxaca, Mexico, will be sold, with proceeds going to support that community’s water supply.

GET TO KNOW the stories of Addison County’s migrant farmworkers, such as these folks milking local cows, at a working local dairy in an Oct. 1 New Haven fall festival dedicated to our migrant worker community.
File photo courtesy of Open Door Clinic

At noon, Bristol resident Chris Urban will facilitate a bi-lingual panel discussion titled, “Stories of Travel, Stories of Home” at the Congregational Church (across from the green). This conversation with local migrant farmworkers is designed to help educate the community about migrant farmworkers’ lives in both their home countries and on farms throughout Addison County. The Vermont Folklife Center exhibition “Invisible Odysseys: Art by and About Mexican Farm Workers in Vermont” will also be on display during the festival at the church and then at the New Haven Community Library until the middle of October.

A FRIENDLY SOCCER match with Mount Abe girls’ and boys’ soccer teams and with the farmworker league will take place on the soccer field at Beeman Independent file photo/Shayiq Shah

There will be a planting dedication on the green following the panel and a blessing by church pastor Rev. Abigail Diehl-Noble to acknowledge the community’s gratitude for the contributions of its migrant farmworker neighbors. Following the dedication, a friendly soccer match with Mt. Abe’s varsity boys’ soccer teams with the farmworker league will take place on the soccer field at Beeman Elementary. La Chapina food will be available for purchase and the community is welcome to attend this fun and community building event.

In addition, students at Beeman Elementary School will participate in a book discussion of Julia Alvarez’s book “Return to Sender.” A gratitude project by the school’s art classes will take place at the school later this fall.

In the same vein, the New Haven Community Library will hold a workshop with book illustrator Kevin Kite for community members and a culminating book discussion about “The Most Costly Journey” on Nov. 3. “The Most Costly Journey” books will be available to area residents interested in participating in this community discussion. Contact the library for a copy of the book generously donated by the Vermont Humanities Council. A special thanks to the New Haven Community Library, the New Haven Congregational Church and Neat Repeats for their support of this event. Parking for the event is available at Beeman Elementary and the church parking lot.

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