If the weather is fair, Dover’s annual Apple Harvest Day today will attract a crowd twice the size of the city’s population to the downtown.
Since there are no commercial orchards within the city limits, I’ve always been baffled by the festival’s name, but it does come a week ahead of the Columbus Day holiday, when most of the other communities in the state host end-of-the-season blowouts. It’s nice to beat the competition.
For several years now, Dover Friends Meeting has been among the nonprofit organizations that have participated. Our canopied booth offers a meet-and-greet opportunity to let people know that Quakers do indeed still exist and to invite folks to join us in reflective worship on Sunday mornings.
We’ve heard that as a nonprofit, we need to make 17 positive impressions, on average, before anyone responds, so we’re not discouraged if people don’t show up in our meetinghouse later.
It’s a two-way street, frankly. Answering questions can be a big way of getting a clearer view of the way others see us.
I was startled, for example, when one woman asked if you have to be a protester to be a Quaker. (Answer: No!)
And when some confuse us with the celibate Shakers, we now respond, “Shakers made beautiful furniture. Quakers make trouble.”
And last year, many folks told us how much they appreciate our “Love Thy Neighbor, No Exceptions” banner across the front of our building.
This year we’re setting out to have fun. Period.
You know, take a selfie of yourself standing with William Penn. Well, someone dressed as a not-too-accurate impersonator. Or you can make your own real Quaker rolled oats using one grain, a hammer, and an anvil. (Watch your thumb, please!)
Or here, have an oatmeal cookie or take a recipe for granola.
That sort of thing.
We’ll still have a bowl of water out for passing dogs and, as a new touch, a small changing station for parents or grandparents with infants.
It’s still a work in progress. Will probably always be, I hope.