Pumpkin and squash in a large flower pot with general greenery in the background.
A fall-season decoration made of pumpkin, squash and gourds at UW–Madison's Allen Centennial Garden during the garden's inaugural Harvest Festival in fall 2022. Photo by Jeff Miller/UW–Madison.

Members of the UW–Madison, Madison and broader community are invited to celebrate Allen Centennial Garden’s second annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 30. The event, which runs from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m., will have live music, dancing, cooking demonstrations and storytelling, alongside opportunities to learn about different harvest traditions from numerous cultures around the world. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Harvest Festival centers around the Wyman Kitchen Garden, which highlights the crops and cuisines of African American, Latinx, and Native American cultures. Crops were selected, planted and harvested in consultations with partners from the Native American Center for Health Professions, Trade Roots, and the UW–Madison Department of Plant and Agroecosystem Sciences. The Wyman Kitchen Garden, completed in spring, features a circular shape divided into three sections with plants such as beans, celosia, collards, epazote, peppers, and squash.

The Harvest Festival kicks off with a seed exchange at 12:00 p.m., featuring free seeds shared by Allen Centennial Garden, Seed Savers Exchange, and community members. Individuals with seeds they’d like to contribute to the exchange are asked to arrive at noon, and seeds will be ready to pick up starting at 12:30 p.m.

Attendees will be treated to a variety of entertainment, including performances and presentations by:

  • Atimevu West African Drum and Dance Ensemble
  • Natalia Armacanqui and Richard Hildner Armacanqui, Andean music and stories
  • Yusuf Bin-Rella and Francesco Mangano, chefs
  • Jesse Downs and Liz Voz, American folk music
  • Madison’s Hmong Heritage Club, Hmong music
  • And many more

UW–Madison student groups will be on hand during the event to share information about food and garden traditions from numerous cultures, including Italian and Scandinavian. There will also be a showcase of student research focusing on the importance of harvest festivals to communities across the globe.

Food will be available for purchase starting at 2:30 p.m. from UW’s Electric Eats food truck, featuring meal options from African, Hmong and Native American cuisines. Cash payment is preferred, but credit cards will also be accepted. 

Allen Centennial Garden is located at 620 Babcock Drive. Free parking is available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 40 behind Babcock Hall.

Allen Centennial Garden will make a reasonable effort to provide accommodations for participants with disabilities when notified in advance. Request a disability accommodation by September 20 by contacting Ryan Dostal at Efforts will be made to meet same day requests to the extent possible.

The kitchen garden project and Harvest Festival were funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Support was also provided through a Wisconsin Arts Board grant, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.