12/02/2010: "An Ag Guild Celebration"
(Susi Wampler serves up one big, rich, chocolate cake. Golly it was good!)
The San Juan Island Ag Guild held an Open House Saturday (12-4-10) to give the public a chance to get a good look at the possibilities, and a time to imagine the transformation that’s going to take place at the "Brickworks." Nancy Larsen Explains what happened:
More than 300 people turned out for the Brickworks Open House last Saturday to celebrate community and the next phase in the effort to renovate the historic building for a community center and permanent home for the San Juan Farmers Market. The event was open to all and brought out a gamut of islanders: enthusiastic supporters, those who’ve been ambivalent, detractors, the curious, townspeople, and neighboring business owners.
The old building was gussied up on the outside with lights, candy canes, and gingerbread men encircling the building, their scarves fluttering in the wind. Beribboned garlands of fir and cedar slinked along the chain link fence facing Nichols Street. Inside it was crammed with celebrants, a wood-burning stove took the chill off, Kate Schuman in her inimitable way sang and played guitar, the Farmers Market Musicians with Mike Cohen took over later. Children quickly gravitated to small tables where Marty Ahart’s tiny homemade gingerbread men proved irresistible and ready for adornment and decoration. Delighted children trimmed the many small Christmas trees scattered around the big room.
The event kicked off with a grand procession from Rocky Bay Café. John Sable and crew presented the Ag Guild with a large colorful cake with this message on the frosting:
“Congratulations Ag Guild. Welcome to the Neighborhood from all the Gang at Rocky Bay.”
Not surprisingly, there was a veritable groaning board. San Juan Bakery provided a chocolate mousse cake, topped with melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate frosting sprinkled with shavings that drew gasps. Neighbor Tim Barette from Market Chef kept the coffee pot going. There was hot cider and hot chocolate and Candace Jagel’s homemade marshmallows to float on top. Deanna Sundstrom Eltinge, placed a mound of her grandmother Ruth’s famous oatmeal cookies on the table, and a host of others left platters of cookies, breads, and other delectables. There wasn’t a scrap left at the end!
Board member Susie Wampler announced the Ag Guild’s selection of Adam Eltinge to be the Brickworks construction manager. In glowing words Wampler introduced Adam to the community, citing his background, construction experience, his enthusiasm and dedication, his ties to island agriculture and the Sundstrom family.
As with on-going work parties at Brickworks, this event was made possible by many, many volunteers, some who signed up ahead of time and others who just appeared out of the blue to do what needed doing that day. Sign up sheets for donations of time, materials, and financial contributions filled up. The celebration not only garnered promises for the future, but gave Ag Guild members an opportunity to give a tour, to answer questions and talk about the project right on site, to clarify the vision, to help people visualize the plans. Many had never been in the building before nor walked the site, and with David Waldron’s conceptual drawings, hanging in full view, it was possible for everyone to get a sense of how the building and site will be used.
Board member Joel Thorson summed it all up with a great big, “WOW! The turnout for our Open House was fantastic. It was great to see so many of our supporters come out and see what we are doing and offer their encouragement. It was also good to see some of our detractors come to see for themselves what we're up to.” Saying he was immensely grateful, he extended a “huge THANK YOU to all of the people who showed up to work on the demolition, cleanup and decorating that made this day so GREAT!”
“The enthusiasm was palpable” one islander said of the event. Another said, “This is the kind of project where anyone can participate.”
What made the afternoon memorable and inspiring was not only the show of support from many different islanders with a wide assortment of skills to carry the project forward, but that they came together as a team, each contributing in ways both large and small, some unexpected and unplanned. It was a spontaneous outpouring of volunteer teamwork that shows no signs of stopping.
Stay tuned for other events, work parties. There’s more to do!