For over 45 years, the award-winning annual Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair in Rhode Island has brought visitors from far and wide together for a celebration of the harvest season. The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary and education center with over 300 beautiful acres of diverse habitats and seven miles of hiking trails.
Proceeds from the harvest fair support the bird sanctuary’s mission of preserving and protecting habitats and providing environmental education to audiences of all ages. This year, YurView’s Simply Southern New England show did a feature on the harvest fair and all the fun festivities. Watch the show segment above or read the full video transcription below (lightly edited for clarity).
Harvest Fair Crafts & Activities
Kaity Ryan, Norman Bird Sanctuary – Hi, I’m Kaity Ryan. And here we are at the Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Harvest Fair.
Madison Williams, Norman Bird Sanctuary (00:16) – The harvest fair is a community event that usually brings out over 10,000 people to the Norman Bird Sanctuary in a celebration of fall and autumn coming.
KR (00:24) – This is our 48th year of hosting a harvest fair here at the bird sanctuary in Middletown. The harvest fair offers something for everyone.
MW (00:34) – So right now we are standing in the middle of our crafters’ tent. We bring in crafters from all over New England that bring amazing, handcrafted goods to be sold to our audience here.
So, harvest fair is very popular with kids for good reason. We have a lot of activities that are really physical, really fun.
KR (00:51) – In the midway games, we have time honored traditions like the monkey bridge, which is a real rite of passage.
MW (00:58) – One of the favorites is the mud pit. A lot of siblings will take on their rivalries and see who comes out on top.
KR (01:04) – And then we also have our children’s tent, which is full of fun things like pumpkin painting, face painting.
MW (01:11) – And then we have a tractor ride, which takes kids all around the fair.
Music & Food at the Festival
KR (01:17) – So today we have in our music tent, great beer from our local brewery, Ragged Island Brewery. They’re amazing sponsors of the Norman Bird Sanctuary.
MW (01:26) – Additionally, Newport Live is here and they collected and curated a lot of great musicians to share their live music here throughout the entire festival. Our food vendors, which is the main attraction for many people offers an eclectic array of food mostly produced in New England, which we love. We love to support local vendors. My personal favorite would be Binge BBQ. They had some loaded tater tots, just perfect.
KR (01:51) – We have the kettle corn man who everyone loves. We have a whole variety of other things, some new vendors with us this year, including a ceviche truck and great food, great beer, wonderful refreshments for everybody. People are taking advantage.
My favorite part of the harvest fair is just seeing people and catching up with them. You know, especially as we come out of the pandemic, we haven’t been able to host the harvest fair for the past few years. This year has been really meaningful for us to see everyone and reconnect and enjoy some time together, having food playing games and just really wholesome fun in this wonderful place.
The Norman Bird Sanctuary
MW (02:29) – I think also it’s really important because it is a community event. So, this is a great way for us to connect with our neighbors and community partners and the people that really you know, help sustain us throughout the year.
KR (02:39) – All of the proceeds from the harvest fair support the Norman Bird Sanctuary’s mission.
MW (02:44) – So we are currently actively preserving over 300 acres of open space. It is actually the largest contiguous open space on Aquidneck Island.
KR (02:53) – We do that through environmental education and conservation and working with our local community to share why it’s so important to protect open space like this for the benefit of not only wildlife but also for the community’s enjoyment.
MW (03:07) – So to learn more about what we are doing here at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, you can visit our website and look online at what programs and educational events we have upcoming. We’re always looking for more volunteers and people to join the Norman Bird Sanctuary family. So please get in touch and we hope to see you soon.
This segment is sponsored by The Junkluggers.
To watch more videos from Simply Southern New England, check out SSNE on YouTube. The show airs on YurView New England – Saturdays at 2pm & 9:30pm, Sundays at 7:30pm and Wednesdays at 9:30pm on Ch. 4 (Providence, RI), Ch. 128 (Hartford, CT) and Ch. 2 (Holland, MA).