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Harvest House general manager says bittersweet goodbye to Denton community

Harvest House general manager says bittersweet goodbye to Denton community

Harvest House general manager says bittersweet goodbye to Denton community
September 11
12:00 2023

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with corrections.

The heartfelt comments flowed in after Harvest House founder and manager Alex Moon, posted a bittersweet letter on Twitter announcing his departure on Aug. 24 from Harvest House. People of diverse backgrounds shared their sweet thoughts and wished him well in his new chapter.  

“That’s kind of why I wrote that note to our community,” Moon said. “It’s my time to move on, but Harvest House will keep living through all the beautiful people who work here now.” 

Although Moon will be moving on to spend more time with his family and pursue other business ventures, Harvest House is here to stay. Brett Freidenbloom, Harvest House owner and soon-to-be manager, promises to keep the party and loving spirit of Harvest House going.  

“We have a good system, so I’m not trying to break something that isn’t broken already,” Freidenbloom said. “So a couple of little things are going to be different on the back end as far as who’s doing what. We’re trying to keep everything the same because we think this place works.” 

Freidenbloom met Moon soon after he moved to Denton to study at the university’s counseling graduate program. He had only 15 credit hours left to complete his degree but decided it was not what he wanted to do. Freidenbloom then met Moon while working at Jack’s Tavern.

Moon would frequently come in for a beer after a shift at GreenHouse and over time, the two became good friends. Freidenbloom wanted to manage the bar, so Moon took him under his wing. 

It all started in 2005 when a small group of friends off Coit Street, near the university, held a party called Harvest Fest. 20 people brewed one keg of beer and had a bluegrass band perform. From then on, every year there was a Harvest Festival.

Over time, the parties grew until the original creators of the festival decided to open a bar to keep the party going. The bar features a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.  

“The older I got, the more I realized that maybe something like this within the community where you [are] a lot more hands-on is a better way to do it,” Moon said. “That’s kind of what me and a lot of the other original people from this place like always blossomed to do. To make this a safe space. To make it part of the Denton that we wanted to see.” 

Moon did not become a lawyer, but he still got to change things in the community by having events for local charities and organizations like OUTreach Denton, Friends of The Family, Autism Adventures and Friends with Benefits at the Harvest House. Autism Adventures is the charity that has made the most impact on Moon personally since he has a soft spot in his heart because some of his family members are autistic. 

Not only does the Harvest House make an impact on the community – they make an impact on a personal level for some regulars. Valois Vera is a local poet and activist who uses a powered wheelchair for mobility, which has limited the number of establishments he can visit in Denton. Harvest House, on the other hand, has a ramp leading up to the stage, allowing Vera to roll up onto the stage for his performances. The seating and bathroom are powered wheelchair accessible, too.

Between that and the warm, friendly nature of the staff and regular customers, Vera has made the Harvest House his go-to place for the last four to five years.  

“When I think about accessibility, it goes beyond just what the law requires for a wide door or a ramp,” Valois said. “It’s how welcoming that space is. As somebody that is multi-marginalized, you don’t know if the space you’re going to enter is going to vibe with you or not. First time I went there, I was like, ‘This is a cool spot.’”  

From first dates to wedding receptions and hosting charity events, the Harvest House has served as a safe space for many and despite the change in leadership, Harvest House regulars can expect things to be business as usual for the foreseeable future.  

Featured Image: Alex Moon poses behind the bar at Harvest House on Aug. 31, 2023. McKenzie Givan

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Erin Runnels

Erin Runnels

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