64th Street Community Garden hosts successful Harvest Festival

Pumpkin painting was just the beginning of a nature-filled afternoon for Sunset Park children on Saturday, October 8.

The 64th Street Community Garden, 373 64th Street, hosted its annual Harvest Halloween Feast for kids and their parents.

“It was a really good turnout. We had about 275 children and parents show up to the event, which was on par with past years,” said Dan Giacalone, senior steering committee member. “It’s a harvest festival sponsored by the Center for Family Life (CFL), which runs the program with the kids in the garden. The 64th street Community Garden also co-sponsors the event.

Local businesses and organizations lent a helping hand to make sure the event was a success. “We worked with Foodtown, which donated 200 pumpkins to the event,” said Giacalone. Funding  also came from the Levitt foundation.


Activities included having the kids, along with their parents, decorate pumpkins. In addition, “We handed out food, and took the kids to the garden and gave away seeds. The school kids have used the facility in the past so they had a lot of fun checking out their work,” Giacalone said. “The students use the beds. They were able to plant winter vegetables in the beds as well.” Book bags were also raffled off.

There was also an education aspect to the event. “We did a class on soil and dirt. We promote healthy soil through composting and insects. We’ve been doing this for five years,” Giacalone added.

Tom Joyce, also a steering committee member and organizer, was thrilled to see the kids have a good time. “Seeing the children’s smiles meant a lot,” he said. “None of those kids left without having a good time. We tried to give away as many pumpkins as we could.The consensus was they were grateful.”

Since the kids work and learn in the garden for a majority of the year, they were happy to share their experiences with their families. “Kids enjoyed having their parents come to the garden to show them what they do. It’s part of the process during the year. In the greenhouse, they plant seeds, then harvest and eat them,” said Giacalone. “They love the opportunity to get out of school and be outdoors during the school year. They love coming to garden and showing off what they’ve grown. They know it’s their garden, which means a lot.”

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