Farm-fresh fun for solar sclipse
Christina Carpenter, of Madras, knows how to host a party. For more than a year, Carpenter, who owns the Organic Earthly Delights farm with her partner, Grant Putnam, hosted First Friday Farm to Feast events on their farm, with good food, local beverages and live music.
In August, Carpenter will put her skills as a chef, farmer and event organizer to the test when she hosts as many as 1,000 people for Solar Eclipse on the Farm at their 103-acre farm on Southwest Dover Lane.
"I thought this would be a First Friday magnified by about a hundred," said Carpenter, who is planning a four-day event from Aug. 18-21. "We want to put the focus on the farm. We're producing our own grass-fed beef; we're going to produce as much as we can right here."
Carpenter and Putnam, are setting up as many as 500 campsites on the farm, where visitors will be able to bring their own RVs or tents, or pay extra to have "glamping" tents set up for them, complete with air mattresses and organic sheets.
To keep children happy, there will be two bouncy houses set up throughout the event, one of which will feature a water slide, as well as a sand box and Lego area, all with supervision. "We want adults to be able to sit down and chat," she said.
For dogs, there will be areas where they can be off leash, as well as fenced-in areas.
Carpenter has rented handwashing stations and 25 port-a-potties, in addition to making plans for outdoor showers. "We're going to have nine bunk rooms in the barn, a bathroom and sinks in the barn, and about 10 showers outside the barn," she said.
Carpenter and Putnam have been working with Jeff Johnson, a biodynamic farmer from Portland, to obtain organic and biodynamic certification for the farm. In the meantime, that have planted fruits and vegetables on about five acres, which will be used for the event and their farmstand.
Included in the cost of the reservation are farm-fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner, with vegetarian and vegan options; Carpenter will serve as the primary chef. She's already made plans for both a refrigerator truck and freezer truck to ensure that there will be plenty of food on hand for the hundreds of people who have already reserved their spots.
"We're hiring people to help — friends that know how picky I am about pulling things like this off," said Carpenter, who plans to have breakfast buffets, lunch and dinner served family style, and cooking demonstrations.
Environmentally responsible, sustainable agriculture will be on display at the farm, and also promoted by author, farmer and lecturer Joel Salatin, of Swoope, Virginia, who is scheduled to speak at the farm on Friday and Saturday. Salatin's Polyface Farm was prominently displayed in the documentary, "Food Inc."
A beekeeper and two astronomers from Hawaii will be giving talks each day. "At night, we're going to have areas where people can lay back on mats and astronomers can guide them through; we're really excited about that," she said.
Information on the educational talks and entertainment will be on her website at www.organicearthlydelights.com.
Locally sourced wine and beer will also be available for attendees. "If we have people who want to stroll in during the evening, they will have to purchase a wristband at the entrance to the property," she said.
Entertainment is always a key part of Carpenter's events, and this event is no exception. The popular local band Countryfied will perform Friday afternoon and evening. The Allan Byer Project, along with Patty Davis and Mark Mobley (of Countryfied), and the Shaniko Band are included in the lineup for the four-day event.
Although the event runs from Friday, Aug. 18, through Monday, Aug. 21, Carpenter doesn't plan to be strict about arrival and departure times. "They can arrive Thursday if it works out; if they need to stay until Tuesday, that's OK," said Carpenter, who has turned away people who want to arrive on Sunday. "We want to encourage them to get here as soon as they can; we don't want our event to be part of that congestion."