CANE HILL -- A tradition that has been going on more than three decades in this historic town is looking for new volunteers to help continue the tradition into the future.
The 2023 Cane Hill Harvest Festival will start at 7 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, with the country breakfast. Activities, vendors and demonstrations will go on from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Carly Squyres, administrative assistant with the non-profit organization Historic Cane Hill, is helping to coordinate this year's festival and is excited that new people already have expressed an interest in volunteering.
She has held two volunteer meetings, and another one will be 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14 at Cane Hill College. Anyone interested in signing up but can't make the meeting, can reach out to Squyres at f[email protected], and or call 479-824-4455 ext. 1.
Squyres said there are many opportunities to volunteer during the day. Volunteers can sign up for one or more two-hour shifts and will receive free admission to the festival. Volunteer opportunities include helping cook sorghum molasses, helping at the registration and information table, set up, take down and clean up, or support vendors, demonstrators and the kids' zone.
Cane Hill Harvest Festival offers visitors a chance to explore the oldest college campus in Arkansas and learn about the crafts and traditions from years past.
Phil Reed of Cane Hill has volunteered for about 15 years at the festival and this year will help set up the kitchen and cook breakfast with the Masonic Lodge in Lincoln.
"I l ike to help my little town and keep it alive and keep it going," Reed said.
Reed said he enjoys volunteering because it also gives him the time to visit with neighbors and others coming to the festival.
"It's not much work but is a lot of fun," he said. "Every bit of help we get, we appreciate that."
Historic Cane Hill has offered to make a donation to the Masonic Lodge for its scholarship fund, so for Reed, this year volunteering benefits him personally, the harvest festival and high school graduates.
Kaylan Hudgens, also of Cane Hill, is volunteering in the quilt room for the third year. She first volunteered in 2019. The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of covid-19.
Hudgens attended the festival growing up and is following her parents' footsteps in helping with the festival.
"I enjoyed the festival growing up and I wanted to keep having it and have my girls go to it," Hudgens said. "The community aspect of it is fun and also being a part of it."
Hudgens has attended the first two volunteer meetings and said people from outside Cane Hill are showing up with an interest int. A couple from Missouri came rto one of the meetings, along with a woman from Bella Vista and another person from Fayetteville.
"These are people who like making things happen," she added.