Raspberry Festival a celebration of creativity and collaboration
Eleven-year-old Abigail Woods of Portland, Oregon had a creative vision. Ever since she learned to weave pot holders for an art project she yearned to share her craft at her own booth at a farmer’s market. But when she found out about the arts and crafts booths at Raspberry Festival at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, where her great aunt Sister Mary Marge Goeckner is a community member, Abigail decided that would be where she would bring her creations.
The same spirit of creativity pervaded the entire festival. The event was attended by approximately 3,000 people including attendees of the St. Gertrude’s Academy All-School Reunion that also happened over the weekend. Artisans brought their hand-made jewelry, soaps, wood art, bird feeders, quilts, and much more. The Monastery products booth featured Sister Carlotta’s handmade Nature’s Gifts products and homemade wine, bread, and jam. Lunch offered Monastery-made raspberry shortcake and lemonade, barbecue beef, hot dogs, and hamburgers. The festival t-shirt featured original artwork by 12-year-old Hailey Russell of Grangeville and the air was filled with live music by Janey Beumeler, Mary Kay Jungert, and the Old Time Fiddlers.
As if to reinforce the spirit of vitality, even the Monastery’s raspberry vines could not be deterred from offering up their gorgeous fruit. Despite a severe hailstorm earlier in the month, the vines managed to still produce most of the festival’s supply of berries. Upon learning that the vines had been pummeled by golfball-size hail, Monastery friends Anne Anderle, Karen Young, and Della Gehring offered the fruit from their own vines. 
“Every seeming obstacle was overcome by generosity and the sharing of a big vision,” says Festival Chairwoman Carolyn Radakovich. “An event of this magnitude is only made possible by everyone staying so focused on the positive as well as the support of our volunteers and sponsors.”
The 2012 Raspberry Festival sponsors included Forsmann Accounting Services, Gehring Electric, Bojacks, Idaho County Light & Power Cooperative Association, Idaho County Propane, Print Shop and Office Supplies, Bryan Petersen, DDS, Cottonwood Community Credit Union, The Hangout, Keuterville Pub & Grub, Rogers Motors, Mountain View Dentistry, Avista Utilities, Wells Fargo Bank, Arnzen Super Drug, Vic & Shirley Gehring, King’s Thrones, St. Mary’s Hospital, Arnzen Building Construction, Reiner Concrete, Bud’s Saw Service, Cottonwood Foods, and Prairie High School.
The beef for the barbecue sandwiches and hamburgers was donated by Camas Prairie Angus Ranch/Bob and Ruby Rylaarsclam and the processing was donated by Sonnen Meats. The Idaho County Sheriff’s Posse took care of parking and traffic. The entire festival is the result of the collaboration between the Benedictine sisters and a vigorous corps of over 100 Monastery volunteers. Thousands also supported the festival by buying raffle tickets. Even young Abigail, after selling out of all her potholders, donated her proceeds to the cause.
“It’s inspiring to see so many people be so generous with their creativity,” says Prioress Sister Clarissa Goeckner. “I am moved by how many people got behind this vision – and so happy the SGA Alumni could be here as well.”
All of this creativity and collaboration was in support of the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude, a legacy of Sister Alfreda Elsensohn who had a creative vision of sharing history in a hands-on, experiential way. “A museum is a bridge which links the present with the past,” she had said. “Museums are roads or paths that establish these connections so people know they do not stand alone, that their ancestors are close by.”
Thanks to the unified creativity and generosity of so many, Sister Alfreda’s vision lives on.

Abigail Woods, mentioned in the article above, weaves a potholder. Photo courtesy of the Monastery.

Andrea Kaschmitter facepaints one of Shaun Riener’s daughters while the other shows off  hers. This was at the kids carnival which was moved to the high school gym this year.

The fish pond at the Kids Carnival.

People check out the vendors at the Raspberry Festival.

Kids like to check out the alpacas.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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