Asparagus fest is the best

June 7, 2014

NAF 8

Editorial by Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The National Asparagus Festival is one of the most unique festivals in West Michigan, and it creates a happy, small-town feeling for all who attend. There are only two other festivals similar to it in the entire nation — the Stockton Asparagus Festival in California and the Empire Asparagus Festival in Northern Michigan.NAF 2

“Our festival is the only one with an Asparagus Queen,” said NAF Board President Linda Foster.

This year’s queen and runner-up are two beautiful, articulate young women. Danielle Kokx is queen, and Erin Fisher is runner-up. They will do a fantastic job promoting asparagus and Oceana County all year long. This year is the first year that an unwed woman was crowned queen in the 40-year history of the pageant. That was a great move by the NAF board to change the title from “Mrs. Asparagus” to “Asparagus Queen.” I always thought the “Mrs. Asparagus” title was a bit stodgy.

The queen element of the festival is such a huge draw that it gained national attention last January when it was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal. (See http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304691904579349171977654200)

NAF 5The weather for this year’s festival could not be better. Beautiful sunny skies and temperatures reaching 80 degrees provide perfect festival conditions. The timing of the festival is great — it serves as the kickoff to summer.

The festival would not be possible without the tireless efforts of its many volunteers, and I would like to thank them all. I am especially thankful to Linda Foster, who is retiring after this year’s festival. Linda put in countless hours of work during her decade of service on the board, and she has done an outstanding job.

The future of the festival looks very bright indeed. With the growing popularity of food NAF 1festivals nationwide, I really think NAF is going to grow in popularity every year. There is also a huge trend in local food consumption, as well as healthy eating. Asparagus certainly falls into both those categories. The spears are loaded with vitamins and are only 20 calories per serving. There are so many new and exciting ways to prepare the vegetable that one can never tire of eating it.

The festival creates a friendly and fun environment as you see strangers joking with one another and children beaming with excitement. Just about everyone who attends NAF is smiling from ear to ear as they stroll through the quaint town, taking in all the events… and I am one of them.

NAF 3The festival continues today with concerts at the entertainment tent next to Hart Pizza. The hilarious Scottville Clown Band performs and 3:30 p.m., and Rocket Fuel Haulers take the stage at 7 p.m.  A community picnic downtown begins at 4 p.m., and an asparagus dinner at Hart United Methodist Church is set for 4-6 p.m. The Fly-in Breakfast runs from 7:30 a.m. to noon tomorrow at the Oceana County Airport.

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