NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 26, 2013

Harvesting a good time

Fundraising festival promises full plate of music and fun

Two days of celebration mixing music with all the great things fall has to offer will raise money for local schools.

The American Music and Harvest Festival is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury.

Organized by the Newburyport Education Foundation and underwritten by the Institution for Savings, the event will benefit the Newburyport, Ipswich, Masconomet, Pentucket and Triton education foundations, as well as Newburyport’s River Valley Charter School and Immaculate Conception School and Historic New England, which runs the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.

Though it’s billed as the third annual festival, this year’s extravaganza is actually the combination of two previous events — the third music festival and the 16th harvest festival — making it bigger than ever.

“It’s the first time we’ve combined the traditional harvest festival with the big music festival,” said Bethany Groff, the regional manager for Historic New England. “We’re trying to keep the best of both events.”

“We’re very excited to have these two events culminate in this wonderful weekend,” said Jay Iannini, vice president and president-elect of the Newburyport Education Foundation. “It’s been great to collaborate with people across the region.”

Iannini said the education foundation wanted to have “a big blowout” to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its collaboration with the Institution for Savings and decided to join forces with other education foundations and schools in the area for this year’s festival.

“It’s a great venue to raise people’s awareness about what local education foundations in their communities do,” Iannini said. “We want to give people the opportunity to learn more about them.”

Education foundations raise money for both new and existing programs in the schools, with the goal of enhancing the quality of public education. Since it was founded in 2004, the Newburyport foundation has donated $2.2 million, which has paid for computers, technology, labs, field trips and more.

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