Volunteers make Apple Harvest Festival a success

Lea Negrin

Credit: Von Haften
Credit: von Hafften

Families flocking to the Children’s Museum of Walla Walla for the Apple Harvest Festival the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10, were able to enjoy a carnival-style array of festivities, with the help of volunteers from organizations including AmeriCorps and Whitman’s Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

“It was definitely a joint effort,” said Emily Shultz, who grew up in Walla Walla and is currently the Volunteer Coordinator for the Children’s Museum as well as a member of AmeriCorps.

Seven Phi students stayed in Walla Walla during the four-day weekend to help with the festival.

“We like events like this where we get to see the bigger community,” said Phi Philanthropy Chair Zach Duffy.

Bundled in scarves and coats, children ran from room to room in the museum, as well as from booth to booth outside. Admission to the festival was free. To play the various games, children handed over 25 cent tickets that were purchased at the door.

“My name is Sabrina and I think it’s great!” one child said after playing a treasure hunt game and continuing to the nearby cookie walk, a colorful butterfly painted across her face.

The Apple Festival was also the celebration of the museum’s fifth anniversary. The museum strives to make learning fun and productive for children through hands-on activities. The festival demonstrated that approach through games such as the harvest market and Italian restaurant. Kids could do their own shopping in the market using the raffle tickets or cook in the restaurant’s play kitchen.

The many volunteers enjoyed the festival as much as the children.

“It seems really fun. I’m sure I would have liked it,” said ’09 alumna Linda Mummy, who helped at the hat toss booth. Since graduating, Mummy joined AmeriCorps and is currently stationed at Edison Elementary in Walla Walla.

Jake Shwartz and Joe Cohen, sophomore Phi volunteers, served pizza to their eager young customers.

“We thought it would be a fun thing to do,” said Schwartz.

The level of support the museum received from the community could be seen by the large number of people helping run the booths, as well as the many families from the local community who attended. The museum’s halls were crowded and no booth stayed empty for long. A constant line of kids stood before the bouncy castle and go fish game.

“It’s fantastic,” said Executive Director of the Children’s Museum Amy Woiblet.