The town of Gothenburg just celebrated its Harvest Festival weekend. People gathered together again for the first time in this capacity since the pandemic. It was grand.
As I reflect on the weekend, I am absolutely stunned at the quality of events, level of involvement and number of people impacted. The special events and promotions committee for the Chamber of Commerce planned tirelessly for months, and it paid off. However, all the planning and organizing in the world is useless without people, organizations and businesses who are willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.
One of my favorite moments was watching people dance under the stars at Lake Helen after the fireworks. It was a celebration of coming together and of surviving. With abandon, we listened to the music and fell into step. No divisions or political opinions being voiced, only the common desire to celebrate together again drew us with the beat of the music.
A series of other moments too numerous to count were another highlight of the weekend. Simple moments made a monumental impact when a person saw a need and chose to jump in and help. I was lifting something heavy and someone came behind me and lifted too. The task was complete only because of the help I received, yet I never saw his or her face to offer a thank you. People offering a helping hand throughout the weekend made all the difference. That is living in community in action.
The old adage “you don’t know what you’ve got until it's gone” seems to fit. In 2020 we didn’t have a Harvest Festival and the impact of not gathering as a community was felt. This weekend wasn’t just about surviving a pandemic, it was also about the ability to return to community, to serve each other, to celebrate together and to remember we need each other.