Essex – As the trees change colour and leaves crunch underfoot, there’s no better way to kick off autumn than with an outdoor celebration of the bountiful harvest. In that spirit, the John R. Park Homestead will welcome visitors on Sunday, October 14th to experience old-fashioned fall merriment on the farm at the Harvest & Horses Festival.
From Noon until 4pm, the Homestead will host this popular fall festival, which combines all the elements of an old-fashioned harvest with the exciting opportunity to meet all varieties of horses, big and small!
“Given the integral role horses played in farming well into the 1900s, they are a natural fit for the harvest event,” explained John R. Park Homestead Curator Kris Ives. “What sets this event apart is the chance for visitors to get up close to meet the horses and their owners, and to see these incredible working animals in action.”
The main event, the Parade of Breeds, begins at 1:30pm sharp. It will feature a variety of pedigrees – from ponies and miniature horses to the largest draft breeds, each demonstrating their own special skills in the ring. “This is the 20th Parade of Breeds, and we will be offering a special ‘People’s Choice’ award this year, which will allow event visitors to vote for their favourite horse,” promised Ives.
For more horsing around, kids can enjoy pony rides provided by event sponsor, Sarah Parks Horsemanship. Visitors will also have the chance to climb into a pumpkin carriage – a seasonal experience straight from the storybooks! Those interested in local agricultural history will be thrilled to watch a horse drawn equipment in action, as well as a display of pioneer-era harvest tools.
Back by popular demand, the Homestead will welcome families to have a harvest-themed family portrait snapped by a photographer. The event also offers visitors the chance to participate in traditional pioneer harvest activities including cider pressing, apple drying, corn-husk craft making, seed saving and more. “This is a great opportunity to connect with our agricultural roots and to learn more about farm to food principles,” Ives goes on to say.
Event admission is $6/adult, $4/child, with a $20 family maximum. Guests are welcome to bring their own lawn chair for a seat during the parade of breeds, but we kindly ask that no dogs be brought to the event. A BBQ lunch, refreshments and seasonal fall desserts will be available for purchase at the Festival. The Homestead is grateful to event sponsor Libro Credit Union, Kingsville Branch, for the children’s hands-on agricultural elements of the festival.
Harvest celebrations continue throughout the month of October with the John R. Park After Dark event on Friday, October 19th at 7pm. The event is by pre-registration only and tickets are limited. Register online at https://jrphafterdark.eventbrite.ca.
The Homestead is located at 915 County Road 50, at the corner of Iler Road, on the shore of Lake Erie. For more information and a detailed event schedule, call 519-738-2029 or visit the website at https://essexregionconservation.ca
Since 1978, the Homestead has been operated by the Essex Region Conservation Authority; the award-winning museum is dedicated to the interpretation of the human and natural history of the Essex Region.