HHF 2When pumpkin patches, farmer’s goodies, local bakers, DJ Stormin’ Norman and family fun all magically appear at A. Phillip Randolph Square (St. Nicholas Avenue @ 116th Street), that can only mean two things: Fall has arrived and it’s time for the annual Harlem Harvest Festival!

One of Harlem Park to Park’s signature events, the 6th Annual Harvest Festival takes place on Saturday, October 10, 2015 from 11am-4pm. This Columbus weekend Saturday, the square will fill with music, dancing, yoga, kids’ activities and performances by Harlem Swing Dance Society and Majica Latina Jazz Group. But, as the festival’s name implies, the real attraction is the harvest: Farm fresh goods from New York farmers, tastings from local purveyors of fine foods, and a fierce bake-off that has been known to launch the careers of some of our neighborhood’s most outstanding aspiring chefs. This is a celebration of the great foods of Harlem!

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This year’s Festival holds special promise for local vendors and chefs. With Whole Foods – the premier sponsor of the Harvest Festival – soon coming to 125th Street, this is a perfect platform for Harlem vendors to have an audience with their buyers, who are in the process of selecting product for the new location. When HP2P Director, Nikoa Evans-Hendricks learned about the coming Whole Foods market some years ago, she wanted to be involved in sourcing local vendors for them. Her evolved relationship with the chain has led to their committed sponsorship of the annual Festival and, finally, holds the promise that store buyers will look to the neighborhood for healthy, local edibles. The Harlem Harvest Festival is one place where that will surely happen.

Twelve finalists are selected to compete in the Cook-off and Bake-off, with the contests beginning at 1pm. Along with the traditional blue ribbon, winners are awarded cash prizes, coupons, and a mountain of professional opportunities. Let’s see whose delicious treats will take the prize in 2015!

The Harlem Harvest Festival is FREE to attend and has been sponsored by Whole Foods Market, Harlem Community Development Corporation, and NYC Small Business Services. The afternoon concludes, as always, with salsa dancing! Visit harlemparktopark.org for more info.

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