Life Care Center of the Willows brought the harvest season home on Friday for their first ever Fall Festival.
Activities Director Robyn Rutar said, “One of the greatest things about fall is the farmer’s market. Not a lot of the residents are able to get out so it was important to bring it here. I thought this would be a really good way to include the community.”
The dining hall tables were draped with Autumn leaf tablecloths and stocked with creative wares. Shoppers could browse hand-woven blankets, locally crafted gourmet peanut butter, and holiday trinkets.
Vendor Kat Lutze, owner of Alley Kat Deals, was excited to be a part of the fair. She was already friends with Rutar and a resident of the Care Center, before she agreed to attend.
“Residents have difficulty leaving this area,” Lutze explained. “To be able to bring a mini version of my shop here is awesome. It’s also good for the community, so that they can see what kind of living environment Willows has. They can learn about their options.”
The $25 table fee paid by each vendor will go to the Alzheimer's Association. Vendors also donated raffle baskets for Willow’s to auction off.
Resident Cathy Hyde won a basket of chocolate, syrup, and coffee.
“It’s great getting something unusual,” said Hyde. “Now I can have hazelnut syrup with my pancakes. [The entire festival] has been very interesting, I love the music. It’s unusual, to have something like this.”
After an afternoon of shopping residents and outside visitors alike were invited to take their refreshments into the lobby for an intimate concert. Musician Albert Roldan played guitar and sang familiar tunes. He and his brother are Willow favorites that visit every other month.
Volunteer Tony Wirick said, “There are many facilities now and it’s hard to keep resident count up. Every little thing you can do, that’s advertising.”
Wirick likes to keep his Willow’s name tag on after he has left the facility. He finds that it encourages people to ask questions about the center, and he wants to bring around as much awareness as he can. The Care Center has a reputation for providing stimulating events for its residents, including Wirick’s famous cook outs and monthly musical guests. The Willow’s Fall Festival was their way of extending that family atmosphere to a larger community.
“If more people did this,” Wirick said, “They’d learn about patience. Everybody has something about them that is a little different. Once you get to know people, you treat them life family.”