The Hootenanny: Our Annual Fall Party Tradition

Hoot.cover.2
This past weekend, we held our annual Hootenanny.  It’s a tradition that warms the very core of my heart and soul for so many reasons.
DSC_0436
IMG_8443
DSC_0044
DSC_0015
This is my big sister.  10 years ago, I told her I wanted to start a tradition — a big fall party called The Hootenanny.  And in Kendra-style, who is usually ALL-IN, bursted, “I want to have a Hootenanny too!” And so we decided we’d do it together.  And I can’t imagine it being any other way.
We know who is crossing what off the list- who’s calling the jump castle, who is getting the 4-H kids to come with their rabbits, who is buying the baskets, who’s bringing the generator for the crockpots (we learned the hard way on that one when the jump castle deflated with a slew of kids in it, and all of the crock pots went cold), and who is making the Costco run. The party now runs like clockwork, but it didn’t happen overnight.  It’s been going for a decade now.  And we are forever Hootenanny Sisters!
DSC_0013
 So, my sister’s family hosts the party with us.  And my parent’s help too… a lot.  Cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and grandkids run around setting up tables, cooking, filling water and lemonade jugs, and making sure the games are ready and the music is cued.  My Dad makes pickles and pickled eggs for the occassion- and who really makes pickled eggs anymore???  He does. For the Hootenanny.
IMG_8499
When all is ready,  people come bearing crock pots full of soups, chills, or desserts for the Hootenanny cook off — it’s legit.  I get texts all week long from people who are roasting their peppers, letting their chili flavors meld, or forming part of their dessert.
DSC_0046
Even children have their own dessert cook-off competition with kid judges – 100% KIDS.
dessert.cookoff
 kids.cookoff
Kids.Cookoff
And then there’s the tug of war, arm wrestling, and three-legged and potato sack races…all ages participate.  I live in Idaho, and my sister lives just across the state line in Washington, so we do Idaho vs. Washington Tug o’ War events – we even have a mom division.  It is so funny to see grown men pulling on that rope like their life depended on it.
Feats of strength – it does somethin’ to a man!
DSC_0058
DSC_0052
kids.races
DSC_0038 (1)
IMG_8493
Meanwhile, the judging takes place and it is serious business.  We have a grading scale to rate taste, presentation, seasonal flavors, and spice.
judging.no.words
DSC_0091
Hoot5
DSC_0531
We shop all year long for the cook-off prizes.  They are no joke.  We try to make the baskets reflect the bounty and fragrance of the season.  The wrapping process begins 3 weeks earlier as my sister and I fill the baskets with what we’ve gathered throughout the year.
IMG_1044
IMG_1064
IMG_1059
IMG_7109
 Here are just a few of this year’s Hootenanny Cook-off winners!!!  We are collecting the recipes and will one day soon put together a cookbook of all of the prize winning recipes!
Cookoff.winners
There is one reason we host this party every year:  deep roots.  We believe that this kind of gathering and tradition makes a difference for our kids right here: IMG_8438
 And also for these people in our community that we love right here —
IMG_8515
It is born out of the belief that FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ROOTS MATTER.  Our experiences together become a big part of who we are and how we feel about the world.  And when we are secure in our place on this earth, we get to pass that legacy on, creating that strong root system in others.
We are better together.  
4 comments… add one
  • KC England November 25, 2015, 6:42 pm

    SO AMAZING!!! I really hope we can come again to this unbelievable event! Love the heart and soul behind every little detail – truly a gift for friends, family, and community! xoxo

    • kristagilly November 25, 2015, 11:59 pm

      Me too KC! And be sure to bring that cute Randi and Gregg! Love this family!!!!

  • Francie Winslow November 25, 2015, 7:30 pm

    this makes me homesick for YOU!!!! I miss you and your amazing heart!!! Your family is SOOOOOO blessed to have you. Thanks for inspiring us along the way!! xoxo.

    • kristagilly November 26, 2015, 12:01 am

      As I am blessed to have you, dearest Francie. The feelings could not be more mutual! Maybe you and Wyatt can come one of these years 🙂 Love you friend!

Leave a Comment

Let’s do this journey together!


I am thankful and honored that you are allowing me to take a virtual seat in your home! I promise to give my best in adding value to your life through my blog. You will find mouth watering recipes, helpful tips, and intriguing ideas. We will also authentically discuss faith, family and living well.

0
Web Design BangladeshWeb Design BangladeshMymensingh