News & Events

Back On the Land and Feeling Grand at LandFest 2022!

Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 07/25/22

Three photos of people behind a sign reading "LandFest" on farmland

Volunteer Stephanie Stewart Bailey snapped photos of guests at the LandFest Photo Booth. The wooden sign was made by our Community Relations & Events Manager, Ric Brewer. From left to right: Kawamoto family, representatives from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and emcees Luke Burbank and Matt Smith with stagehand Ben.

Tents on a crowded field.

Chimacum Ridge rose over the two tents on the Finnriver green.

On Thursday, July 7, more than 250 community members joined us at Finnriver Farm & Cidery for LandFest, Jefferson Land Trust’s annual fundraising gala. We were inspired and overjoyed to be back on the land with so many of our supporters to celebrate, learn, and witness the power of community-driven conservation. Together, we raised more than $240,000 to help protect and care for the places that matter in Jefferson County!

It was our biggest Fest yet, with the most guests we’ve ever welcomed, 13 staff members, and about 30 volunteers who generously lent their time to the event. It was wonderful to see so many old and new friends mingling as local troubadour Samara Jade’s music drifted from the big tent.

Stage in a crowd under a tent, man in baseball hat at mic, with woman in traditional S'Klallam regalia and cedar bark hat standing behind him

Richard Tucker introducing Rochelle Blankenship of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

Executive Director Richard Tucker presented opening remarks, followed by a blessing from Rochelle Blankenship of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Emcees Luke Burbank and Matt Smith kept the crowd informed and entertained as they enjoyed a delicious farm-to-table meal served up by Chef Dan Ratigan and his team from The Fireside Restaurant at the Resort at Port Ludlow, accompanied by wine from Marrowstone Vineyards and Finnriver cider.

Following remarks from the Land Trust’s Director of Conservation and Strategic Partnerships, Sarah Spaeth, keynote speaker Lyndsie Bourgon, author of Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods, spoke about the challenges conservationists face today in protecting forests, and the opportunity to counter these challenges through community-based involvement in community forests, like the one being planned for Chimacum Ridge, which could be seen to the south on that clear July evening.

Woman sitting behind table holding up book and smiling

Keynote speaker Lyndsie Bourgon signed books (for sale through friends at Imprint Bookstore) at the event.

Our final speaker was Heather Kawamoto, who shared moving reflections on her family’s farming history and the experience of working with Jefferson Land Trust to protect their farm forever. Heather is the great-granddaughter of Kaichi and Itsuno Kawamoto, who homesteaded Kawamoto Farm in Quilcene 100 years ago; the farm has been passed down through the generations since then. Last year, the Land Trust worked with the Kawamoto family, the U.S. Navy, and other partners to protect Kawamoto Farm with two easements, ensuring it will remain available as working agricultural and forest land for all time. We’ve also been working with Jefferson LandWorks Collaborative to find the next generation of farmers to work and care for this land.

Throughout the evening, there were plenty of fun activities and lots of laughs. Our “Best Dressed for Fest” winner, whose crown included aromatic lilies and lavender, walked away with a prize box of goodies, including hand-turned walnut bowls made by Tim Lawson, an REI gift card and travel mugs, and of course, chocolate.

Woman in flower crown cheering in center of seated crowd

Our “Best Dressed for Fest” winner got a big round of cheers from the crowd!

Our lucky Golden Ticket winner received a gorgeous set of handmade pottery by local artist Megan Smith. As the sun set over Finnriver, we capped off the night with a paddle raise, with some bidders winning the chance to choose from a dazzling array of cakes made by Land Trust staff members, supporters, and friends, including the “Carrie Clendaniel Downed Woody Debris Cake” by Sarah Fairbank’s Tasty Cakes and Pies, “The Watershed Cake” by Sarah Spaeth, and a Southern favorite, the Chocolate Coca-Cola cake by Richard Tucker. Big thanks to all our volunteer bakers, and to Sarah Fairbank for being the chief cake wrangler!

People standing at a table full of cakes.

The cake table. Yum!

Thanks to the support of many sponsors and donors, the help of volunteers, heartfelt words from our speakers, the staff at Finnriver, and the enthusiasm of each and every guest, LandFest 2022 was both a memorable celebration and a resounding success. We couldn’t do the work we do without this amazing community behind us — thank you!

More photos of the event are here, and photos from the LandFest Photo booth are here.