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Lake Farmpark’s Corn and Pumpkin Fest returns (photos)

October 7, 2018

Lake Farmpark’s Corn and Pumpkin Fest returns (photos)

KIRTLAND, Ohio – Lake Metroparks Farmpark does not raise enough crops to affect commodity prices, but it raises awareness every day.

This weekend and next mark the annual Corn and Pumpkin Festival, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7, 13 and 14.

The rain stopped as if on cue Saturday morning as Farmpark opened. Attendance built throughout the day despite occasional sprinkles, but rain doesn’t much matter  because many festival activities are sheltered by tents or buildings.

Seasonally apt things were featured, including made-on-site pumpkin-and-sweet-potato soup, popcorn and apple smoothies. Some pumpkins were for sale, while others did double duty as bowling balls and gourds became the game pieces for tic-tac-toe.

The 235-acre facility that joined the park system around 1990 had activities and demonstrations all over the grounds Saturday, including a border-collie demonstration, a chance to see farm animals of every size and shape, and demonstrations of milking by hand and machine.

Some of the featured events were whimsical but all activities remain focused on one goal. Andy McCoy, event manager at the Farmpark, said “our mission is to teach people where their food came from.”

He said the staff still talks about the time a child saw a milking demonstration in the dairy parlor and said, “I thought milk came from the grocery store.”

McCoy said the park also reminds people of how important agriculture has been to Lake County from its inception to this very day.

Farmpark administrator Lee Homyock said some form of harvest festival has been at the Farmpark since it began.

Before Lake Metroparks bought the land, the previous owners bred Arabian horses.

Horses are still in evidence, with everything from ultra-small specimens to a team of giant Percheron draft horses.

Internal-combustion power gets its due as well. One of the first sights when people enter the Visitor’s Center is a Ford Model 9 tractor. Red-and-gray Ford tractors powered thousands of American farms until the automaker got out of the tractor business around 1990.

There are also older tractors, some still operable, as well as old farm equipment, such as an antiquated combine and a corn binder.

Lake County residents get into the park for free on the first Sunday and third Tuesday of every month, which includes the Corn and Pumpkin festival on Sunday, Oct. 7. Regular admission ranges from $6 (ages 2-11) to $8 (age 60 and over).

The Haunted Hayride begins Friday, but already sold out in four hours, according to McCoy.

The Farmpark is at 8800 Euclid Chardon Road in Kirtland.

The Colors of Fall Open House at Penitentiary Glen Reservation is free on Sunday October 7 from noon to 4 p.m. People can hike or ride the miniature steam trains to experience the season and there will also be a presentation on how animals prepare for the onset of cold weather. Penitentiary Glen is at 8668 Kirtland Chardon Road (Route 6), Kirtland.

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