We hosted a performance event at the Mt. Vernon Community Garden last Wednesday. Octavia Sexton is a local storyteller who performed a few of her entertaining stories. She is actually one of our Grow Appalachia participants; so it was exciting to have her help us out and give back to the community! Octavia’s son, Ellis, played some music on his guitar while we were getting ready.


The performance was actually a disguise for a surprise sunflower forest dedication to two retiring community members in honor of their service to the community. One of them is Leon Davidson who is retiring from being principal of the Mt. Vernon Elementary School, and the other is Allen Pensol who is retiring from being the Rockcastle County Arts Coordinator. Leon’s son, Drew, was also supposed to perform since he is a comedian, but unfortunately he was not able to make it. Allen couldn’t attend, but Leon was at the performance and dedication. He was very surprised and humble when accepting the dedication. Melinda, the high school interns, and I worked hard in the week leading up to the dedication preparing the sunflower forest. Melinda even learned how to use the tiller so she could till up the space we needed. The sunflowers got in the ground a little late, but it should be beautiful in time.


Another component of the event was to recognize the high school interns for their work in the past four weeks. It worked out that the event would be held on their last day with ASPI. Suzi said a few words about them and presented certificates to them. Then the interns got back to work at the farmers market which was going on at the same time.


The event was a great opportunity for us to reach out to the community and get more people involved in the community garden. We had local businesses allow us to borrow a tent, chairs, and extension cords. We were able to use ASPI’s solar trailer to power the sound equipment. A couple of young girls even set up a lemonade stand for refreshments. Approximately thirty people attended the event. We would have liked more people, but it was a very hot day. Overall, the event was a success and we would like to have more events at the community garden in the future.