Redding teenager organizes town-wide event

Redding teenager Haven Hunt, 15, is planning her second town-wide event in Redding, which she has named the Redding Hive.

The Redding Hive, is on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Topstone Park, 72 Topstone Road, Redding.

Admission is free. The rain date is Sept. 10.

According to Haven, the purpose of the Redding Hive is to have a place for the community to gather, as well as to support local businesses and connect with friends.

The Hive features local vendors selling items such as jewelry, lotions and art, as well as face painting and 10-minute chair massages.

There will also be food trucks carrying a mixture of New England and southern California food, as well as hot dogs and hamburgers.

In addition, there will be live music from musicians including Bob Forte, a guitarist and vocalist; Dan Bonis, a bluegrass group; and Coastal Groove, which plays music from the 1970s and 1980s.

“We rely on the community to show up,” she said. “Topstone is also a beautiful place to have a picnic. We have tables and a playground. People are welcome to bring their own food.”

The first Redding Hive that Haven organized was on Mother’s Day and was also held at Topstone Park.

She thought of the idea to create this event in December of 2016 when she went on a family vacation to Hawaii. “We were looking for things to do. We were told by locals that we have to go to a place called Uncle Roberts. We knew it was some kind of community gathering,” she said. “It turned out to be a huge event. So, I sat down with my family and started taking notes. I wanted to bring this to Redding.”

Haven named the event Redding Hive and told others about it through social media and word of mouth. She  distributed flyers around town and created a Facebook page.

The only cost from the event was the insurance for using the space and the rental fee for the park.

“We charge $30 for vendors to rent a space,” she said. “The goal is to make no profit.”

The first Redding Hive took place on Mother’s Day and was also held at Topstone Park.

“It went above and beyond our expectations — about 200 people came,” she said. “We had families with young kids, teenagers  and adults of all ages.”

Haven said that the night before the prior Redding Hive was to be held, a thunderstorm was predicted, so a lot of people pulled out last minute.

“But Uncle Leo’s [Coffee & Donuts in Redding] saved the day for us,” she said. “They donated dozens of donuts and a few gallons of coffee.”

She said it’s very important for people to shop local.

“I worked at All the King’s Horses in Ridgefield [which sells equestrian supplies] and I saw the effects that chains and online businesses had on mom-and-pop stores. People no longer have a need for brick-and-mortar establishments for smaller handmade goods. We need to shop at local businesses because they are supporting Redding,” Haven said. “A lot of families are pursuing their passion in their business and that’s what I really love.”

She said that her young age was both a help and a hindrance in getting the event under way. “I’ve had moments where I would reach out to someone through email and tell them about this event, and then they will email me later and say is it true that you are 15. When I confirmed this, I never got another email back.”

On the flip side, she added that there were people who were more willing to support her because of her age.

Weston resident Catherine Revzon, who has known Haven for two years, said she was very impressed with Haven’s success with the inaugural Redding Hive.

“The event not only brought people together but also helped local vendors and young musicians gain exposure. A lot of work goes into planning and running such a large event and she was determined to make it happen for all of us. I’m truly proud of her.”

Revzon added that Haven is a mature, responsible, highly motivated and creative teenager.

“She is passionate about helping others reach their goals,” said Revzon, who writes the column “Ask the Pharmacist” for the Weston Forum. “I plan to return to the Redding Hive on September 9 to relive that happy vibe with my family.”

For more information on the Redding Hive, visit Thereddinghive.com.

 

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