News & Events

Oh, What a Night: LandFest 2023

Author: Lilly Schneider | 07/25/23

Crowd seated under a tent

Guests gathered under the big tent to drink, dine, laugh, learn, and support local land conservation at LandFest 2023! Photo by Hal Everett.

The Jefferson Land Trust team is still basking in the glow of LandFest! On Thursday, July 13, more than 300 community members came together for a magical evening at Finnriver Farm & Cidery to celebrate the power of local land conservation — and raised more than $273,000 to support the farms, fish, and forests of Jefferson County!

Woman in cedar hat at podium

Loni Greninger shared a blessing to open the program. Photo by Hal Everett.

The evening got rolling as 45 amazing community volunteers, led by three experienced volunteer team captains, arrived to grab an early dinner before helping with guest parking and service of delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Dan Ratigan and his team at the Fireside Restaurant at the Resort at Port Ludlow. As local musician (and member of the legendary Brothers Four) Mark Pearson filled the meadow with song, guests dressed in their summer best enjoyed libations from Bar Car Mobile, Marrowstone Vineyards, Discovery Bay Brewing, and Finnriver Cidery, before sitting down to a memorably delicious farm-to-table dinner from Chef Dan.

Throughout the evening, emcee Luke Burbank and co-host Matt Smith kept everyone informed and laughing between guest speakers. We were honored to welcome Loni Greninger of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, who began the evening’s program with a blessing. Following remarks by Executive Director Richard Tucker and Board President Brian Rogers, Director of Conservation and Strategic Partnerships Sarah Spaeth joined Richard in a fun quiz that highlighted some of the Land Trust’s most exciting conservation projects. Winners nabbed Jefferson Land Trust socks and gourmet chocolate!

Couple in festive flower hats

“Best Dressed for Fest” winners Susan and Bob went home with a CSA from Stellar J Farm! Photo by Hal Everett.

In an emerging LandFest tradition, many guests also brightened their outfits with flowers, ferns, branches, and botanicals. This year’s “Best Dressed for Fest” first place prize went to Bob Jaffe and Susan Isaacson, whose festive headwear earned them a CSA from Stellar J Farm!

LandFest’s special guest speakers were geologist Dr. David Montgomery and biologist Anne Biklé, who spoke about how healthy soils are essential to our own wellbeing and that of our communities. Our friends from Imprint Bookstore had David and Anne’s latest book, What Your Food Ate, on sale throughout the evening.

Next, ƛ̕əw’cən Mackenzie Grinnell, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s Traditional Foods & Culture Gathering Coordinator, spoke from the heart as they described how the Land Trust’s conservation projects help support Tribal access to traditional natural resources, food, and medicines — some of which have not been available to Tribal citizens for several generations.

Then it was time for the paddle raise, with many guests and volunteers raising their paddles in support of the Land Trust! And a few lucky bidders won decadent cakes made by our staff members and volunteer bakers.

Woman smiling serving appetizers

Volunteers made the evening magical!

The generosity and vision of our community inspires us all year long. At LandFest, we come together to feel the energy of this amazing community in person, and celebrate the conservation successes that are only possible with this incredible support. As one guest put it, LandFest is “a big community hug” — and we’re still feeling the warmth.

Thank you to all who made LandFest into such a magical evening and an incredible success!

View some photos of the event here.

LandFest 2023 also made the front page of the Port Townsend Leader! You can read the story online here; it was originally published in the July 19 print edition.

Sign that say LandFest