Unsung Heroes #302

Saturday was a magical night at Wakeman Town Farm.

The annual Harvest Fest fundraiser was — as always — one of the highlights of the year.

The rain held off, and hundreds of WTF supporters enjoyed fantastic food and drinks (served, in part, by some of the town’s top celebrities and elected officials, with help from Staples High School students), great music, a raffle and more.

As always, it was fun and funky. No one dressed up; everyone had a blast.

Hundreds of guests had a great time at Harvest Fest.

But events like Harvest Fest don’t just happen.

Organizers spent hundreds of hours, sweating thousands of details. Wakeman Town Farm would not exist and flourish without their help.

Kudos too to farm stewards Jen and John Montoni. WTF co-chair emeritus and events director Christy Colasurdo says, “They are truly the force behind almost everything that happens at the Farm — and most of what they do is behind the scenes and unheralded.

“For instance, John makes sure the gardens and grounds are tip-top, and that the animals are lovingly cared for. He manages all the maintenance issues, our garden and animal care teams, and is the go-to guy for almost everything that happens on the farm.

“Jen quietly manages the WTF logowear sales. She recently spent evenings (after her day job) before Harvest Fest alongside John stringing thousands of lights around the tent perimeters, hanging paper lanterns, wrapping tent poles with corn stalks and setting up tables and chairs — all to ensure that the décor was set up to her aesthetic standards.

“The Montonis are an incredible team, and often bring in their two 20something sons, Niko and JC, to help with tasks around property. We are extremely fortunate to have them as our caretakers. They are at the heart of everything that happens in the property.”

John and Jen Montoni.

But the event would not have happened without vendors.

Some donate 100 percent of their time and/or product — like Sal Gilbertie, who has brought a van on Harvest Fest for more than 10 years, dropping off over 100 mums from Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center to decorate the tents, tables and grounds.

James Boyer, of Greens Farms Spirits brings hundreds of bottles of red and white wine, and is a big supporter of and donor to other WTF events too (including the upcoming Beer Garden on October 15).

Many other vendors come to the Farm on a Saturday night, leaving their own venues, turning down paying gigs and donating their staffs and time, during an extremely busy season.

Beef and salmon kebabs …

Their culinary talents are spectacular. And they return year after year because they believe in Wakeman Town Farm, and its mission to bring people together around local food, farms and community.

This year’s vendors included:

  • AMG Catering & Events
  • Barcelona restaurant
  • Fairfield Cheese Company
  • Herbaceous Catering
  • Love Lou Wines
  • Marcia Selden Catering
  • Mixxed by Ed
  • New Yama Fuji Sushi
  • Nit Noi Provisions
  • Tony Pizza Napolitano.

… and special salads …

It takes a village to support a farm. Event co-chairs Colasurdo and Danna Rogers; committee chairs Liz Milwe and Bill Constantino, and sub-committee heads Haley Schulman, Susan Schmidt and Nicole Gerber, did superb work.

All who contributed to Saturday’s success — and every other WTF venture — are this week’s Unsung Heroes.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(Like Wakeman Town Farm, “06880” is a non-profit that relies on Westporters’ support. Please click here to help. Thank you!

… and paella. (All photos/Winter Caplanson)

3 responses to “Unsung Heroes #302

  1. I didn’t know there was a Barcelona Restaurant in Westport. I miss the Paella we used to have during those five hour lunches in Malaga.

  2. Liz and Nicole and everyone who work up all the time every time they do this and the wonderful police officer that help out wakeman town farm is crown jewel in Westport we are very lucky to have it all the people up there I am always proud to support the farm and I always will from sal liccione rtm district 9 member

  3. Robert Harrington

    John and Jen Montoni are the best !

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