Party: Harvest Stomp at Hudson Vineyards

We have a friend who invites us to the coolest events.
He gets tickets to these locals-only kinds of things,
the coolest winery-owner kinds of things.

Last weekend, we got a chance to attend the Harvest Stomp.


It’s a fundraiser for the Napa Valley Growers Association.
They grow the grapes here in Napa Valley.
(It’s easy to forget that wine is an agricultural product sometimes.)

Hog Island was there, shucking oysters.
You could walk right up and eat as many barbecued or raw oysters as you wanted.
(Since it was about 42

How to: Fundraising Rummage Sale

When our 15 year old friend confided that she was trying to raise money for a trip to France next summer, we offered our yard for a big fat yard sale.

Over last week, friends dropped off items they were willing to donate to the cause — brand new coffee makers, golf clubs, luggage and more kitchen items than sticks for shaking were among the most coveted.

(Since James and I are often busy with naptimes, feedings and life, we just allowed folks to drop their bags off on the front porch).

Zucchini, ten cents

The deserving student and her family came over on Friday evening before the sale to tag and sort all the items. They then drew signs on the sidewalk with chalk. Notes from the coffee shop, grocery store and main street pointed folks towards our house.

For terrifying candy

Early on Saturday morning, we put out coffee cake (store bought, heated in the oven) and juice.

Prohibition Adventureparty – Part 2

I know, I know, this was, like, weeks ago.
Remember my original Adventureparty post? If not, start there.

By now you’re probably on to my Lunch Lady themed potluck or you know, your life.
But I told you I’d give you information and I’m sticking true.

Team Racketeer at the hobo stop

So, back from Adventureparty Part 1 – it’s time to talk more about how we put it together.

The facts:
When we met together, we laid ground rules, an important part of any Adventureparty.

Clues and party had to be within walking distance.
We could include no more than 30 people.
The final party place was the big surprise.

The theme:
The team met several times to talk through different story lines.
Other options for stories were – Missing dog, wine making, pirates and scavenger hunt.

Since my birthday was coming up, we decided to hook the party to that event. Remember, our organizing team just wanted to do an Adventureparty – we didn’t really care what the occasion was.

The Prohibition theme worked well for us as it allowed costumes for the guests that weren’t hot or restricting. My birthday tends to fall on the hottest day of the year – so we needed to keep it cool.

The theme allowed the final party place (the Speakeasy) to be a surprise.

Party people.

The clues:
During all of these meetings we talked through clues that were in great places.
We wanted to do something at the cemetery, but it’s a mile from the main street in St. Helena.
We wanted a balloon clue that guests had to pop to find the clue inside.
We wanted a chalk outline.
We wanted cocktails.

Coming up with a wide wish list of actual clue locations helped us narrow our options. This is also how we plan to approach the next Adventureparty.

All Clues Laid Out

We eventually winnowed the clues down to five places.
Three teams would cycle between the first three spots.
All teams would end at the final two.
(This was to help avoid team pile up at individual clue locations.)

Hobo Clue

We erred on the side of easy when it came to clues. We gave them two hours to complete the course and most came back in an hour. As it was our first time, it was the right strategy.

Welcome letter

The structure:
nat-envelopesEach team received an envelope with an introductory letter, their first clue and a disposable camera. Teams took off to their first location, where we had hosts waiting for them.

We didn’t intend for guests to race against each other. But we discovered that if you put people into teams that’s what they’re going to do.
(Now be ye warned.)

We also took the team organizing seriously.
We wanted to make sure that each team was well balanced in terms of gender, personality and sense of adventure.

It was a good sign when the teams were announced and no one’s face fell at their designation.

Our people:
Paul played a police officer who had come across a shootout over the stolen hooch.
Sgt. O'Malley had a crime scene so he served bloody marys

James played a hobo at the abandoned barn.
The most handsome hobo

Our local bartender Kat, hosted guests who had to complete a task before getting their next clue.
(I don’t have photos of that part, due to the fact that our photographers were in high school – grin.)
My brilliant photographers

After finding the clues at each of the stops, guests were all sent to the fountain at Merryvale winery where three balloons bobbed in the water.

Which one is for your team?

Teams received their final clue to the speakeasy from there.

The Speakeasy:
We met with Farmstead’s Sheamus Feeley the week before and collaborated on some updated 1920s style picnic food. When we arrived, everyone was greeted with a muddled peach and bathtub gin drink.

My takeaway was this, our local chefs love to collaborate on this kind of thing. Give a budget and let them go to town — chances are their ideas and execution will surprise everyone.

We found out that more local business wanted to be involved than we thought.
I can’t wait to collaborate with my community on this kind of party in the future.
Can you imagine?
A town-wide game?

How to be alone

Oh, oh, I love this.
Especially the use of “chowdowners” as a noun.

(From yougrowgirl.)