Open to both families and Ohio University students, the Harvest Hoedown is a combination of a fundraiser and a free event to get locals in the autumn spirit.
The event is being hosted by the Athens County Child Advocacy Center, an organization that serves local children and their families who have been the victims of child abuse. It’s an annual fundraising event that will include live music from The Trophy Wives, games, face painting, magic and more. Children will be able to win prizes at a rubber ducky game and families can also purchase popcorn, apple cider and Kona Ice.
“There’s sometimes a lull in activities for families between Halloween and Thanksgiving, and we needed something unique and different,” Melissa Greenlee, executive director of the Athens County Child Advocacy Center, said. “Children and families can come out and have something to do when it’s a little cooler outside.”
If You Go:
What: •Harvest Hoedown
Where: •Athens County Fairgrounds, 286 W. Union st.
When: •Saturday, 3 p.m.
The fundraiser is revolved around a cow plop, which will feature a live cow in a barn. 100 squares will be sold for $25 per person and whichever square the cow defecates in determines the winner of up to $500.
“It’s a really rural fundraising event,” Greenlee said. “But, because that’s not too exciting to watch, we wanted to have some fun things for families going on. It’s just a laid-back event.”
The Child Advocacy Center is known to be an organization that has had a significant impact on the children in Athens county.
“The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is an invaluable program for the children of this county,” Kristin Waltz, an advocate for the OU Survivor Advocacy Program, said. “The CAC has a multidisciplinary team that works to reduce the unnecessary trauma that results from a child survivor coming forward and having to tell their story many times to different people in the process.”
At the Child Advocacy Center, workers specially trained to complete forensic interviews work with children in child-friendly spaces, helping them meet with law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers and prosecutors. Having all of this in one child-friendly space reduces the amount of trauma that children may suffer from the process itself.
“The process is as compassionate and supportive as possible,” Waltz explained. “The trauma-informed delivery of these services helps to ensure that the child, who bravely tells someone about their abuse, is not traumatized further by coming forward.”
Education and outreach are important pieces in prevention, and the Harvest Hoedown is an easy way for students and families to participate in making a difference.
“I think that it’s important to put some positive light on horrible situations like this,” Emilee Mulhall, a junior studying journalism, said.
Mulhall plans on attending the event in order to support the Child Advocacy Center. She believes it is an important cause to give money to and that locals should pay more attention to issues like this.
“Everyone in the community is supporting you,” Mulhall insisted. “There are resources and people to go to.”