Belfry Harvest Festival: a great time that funds beautification

Photo by Eleanor Guerrero (Above) Veteran Ed Christman was content to listen to the beautiful voice of his granddaughter, Amber Van Valkenberg, who performed at the festival.

There was a crisp, beautiful day for the Belfry Harvest Festival on the outskirts of town at the Moore farm on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Festival is not only a great time that brings the locals out like harvest festivals of old, it creates funding for various community projects. This was the fourth year of the Festival put together by the ladies of the small nonprofit, Belfry Neighbors Helping Neighbors. “Our agenda is to beautiful Belfry and bring our community together,” said Audrey Bonogofsky, Vice President. “It’s a really spectacular festival this year with the weather being better.” The event is growing every year. A big crowd showed up early to attend the free event to celebrate Belfry. There were 25 vendors and many activities for the children. There was a Farmer’s Market. “We have lots of homemade jellies and jams, breads, aprons, antiques, jewelry, clothing,” said Bonogofsky. “We have vendors all the way from Wyoming, Billings and Big Timber.” Excited locals have been calling her all week in anticipation of the festival. She gave special thanks to this year’s Red Lodge Rodeo Home of Champions Grand Marshalls, Dean and Dena Spaulding. “They’ve generously helped with anything we needed, including cut corn and hay bales for decorations.” There were lots of snacks to choose from when you tired of shopping, from Asian fare, gourmet grilled cheese, pulled pork, cotton candy and kettle corn. Attendees could come, browse and just listen to the three bands that played during the day. The event started at noon and continued through 6 p.m. For the kids, there were games, face painting, airbrushed tattoos and lots of prizes. Belfry Neighbors Helping Neighbors has only four members: President Lanette Harshman, Vice Presidents Bonogofsky and Jenny Jacobson and Secretary/Treasurer Casey Moore. The all-volunteer group raised money charging vendor fees of $20 and running a raffle. Proceeds will go to the causes they support: putting up an entry sign saying “Welcome to Belfry” where a fence now stands; supporting Dumpster Day to clean up the town in Spring, and the annual town Christmas Party. “It’s just a wonderful event for our community and all surrounding communities,” said Bonogofsky.