Sparking the Holiday Spirit with the Knights of Columbus's Fall Harvest Festival

By Sara Porcaro | Nov 16, 2021
Rhode Island, Charity, Community, Leadership, Thanksgiving, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Disabilities
CEO Judy Niedbala and Jennifer

This year's holiday season is already a few rays brighter than last year's, with the promise of being able to meet with family for our old traditions once again. With Thanksgiving next week, no doubt households are already stocking up on the ingredients for all their favorite holiday dishes, preparing their homes to hold bigger parties than the small-scale celebrations we saw in 2020. However, for some avid partygoers, the holiday season is already well underway--and that's thanks to the Knights of Columbus in Wakefield, who have kick-started the festivities with their Fall Harvest Dance!

The Start of a Tradition with the Knights of Columbus

It was the wish for a dance party one year that started what became a yearly tradition for the Knights of Columbus and the individuals we support at Perspectives. Dave, who wanted to throw a party to meet new friends and dance the night away, found the perfect party organizers with the Knights, who hosted what then became known as the Spring Fling--and it became a part of the roster with the Knights' fishing trip, bowling competition, and other events. Of course, the pandemic put the Spring Fling on hold both in 2020 and 2021 as everyone worked to stay safe and get vaccinated when able--but now, after over a year of sheltering in place, the Narragansett Community Center was alive with food, music, and plenty of partygoers once again.
"We could've waited for next spring," says Former Grand Knight Joe Robenhymer, "but we didn't want to. It's been so long since everyone's been able to get together like this, and we wanted to put this on for everyone, so we just changed the theme and all pitched in to make it work."
Of the attendants, too, the energy stayed high. One guest, Jennifer, signed, "I'm glad to be back out after having to shelter in place. This is great, and I'm hoping to make some new friends tonight."
With music from Pleasure Sounds, a harvest themed photo booth, a fresh cooked meal, and plenty of space to let loose on the dance floor, it was definitely a time to remember--one that kicked off the November holiday, with the feast foreshadowing the joy to come on Thanksgiving. The Knights of Columbus always band together for these events, allowing a chance for everyone to pitch in with the decorations, food, music, sign-in sheets, and more. The food, which they bought in bulk from Taste-Right Co. in Wakefield, consisted of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, rolls, and more, as well as pastries from local bakeries, had oversight from Knight John Mulholland, and Many of the Knights' children--called Scouts--also participate, earning community service hours as they make sure everyone has a smooth and easy time getting in the door and ready to have a blast.
"It's all about helping," John says. "That's the bottom line of our organization: helping others. Seeing the smiles on everyone's faces tonight, that's what makes it all worth it."
"I'm so happy to be here, seeing all my friends around. I'm at a loss for words, really; it's been months since I've seen some of them."

Setting the Tone for the 2021 Holidays

One parent in attendance, Marie, attested to the Knights' work in their community: "The Knights are a fantastic organization, very active in the community. They give out gift cards to families in need for food for the holidays, host a lot of events like this with Perspectives, and I think it's great. It gives everyone the chance to let loose and have fun; they love it."
Throughout the evening, several of the Knights, including Joe, could be found helping individuals find wheelchair-accessible seating and get a plate of food. The event lasted three hours, and in those three hours, the space hummed--with voices, laughter, music. Friends clapped each other on the back, greeted each other with smiles that lit up their faces as they settled in for the night, and they danced to their favorite songs, some like Michael Jackson's Thriller still carrying the Halloween spirit. The Knights of Columbus, parents, and other friends were also there, enjoying the night, celebrating what feels like a real return to the fun and joy we've missed while sheltering in place.
"It's been rough, the pandemic," says one guest, Mike, "but I'm so happy to be here, seeing all my friends around. I'm at a loss for words, really; it's been months since I've seen some of them, and time's just slipped away. I'm going to have a blast tonight."
And no doubt they did. Thanksgiving is coming up quick, and thanks to the Knights of Columbus, over fifty people will have already gotten right into the swing of things, ready to celebrate the last of 2021's holiday season happy and excited as they get back out to see the people they love. We're grateful for the effort they take to ensure everyone has such a wonderful time, and we're looking forward to the rest of the year ahead as we bring our loved ones close again!


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