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September 12, 2013

Farmers' Museum to host Harvest Festival

Staff Report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Organizers are calling it “the most entertaining celebration of fall” with the “perfect blend of new attractions and trusted favorites.”

The 35th annual Harvest Festival at The Farmers’ Museum will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14 to 15. According to a media release, the event is a regional favorite that brings together a wide range of performers, artisans and exhibitors.

New this year is a festival tent that will feature live performances and family activities, such as crafts, demonstrations, story time and contests. Performances will include Generation CMC, a group of Congolese and Rwandan dancers, on Saturday and the Gravelyard Bluegrass Band on Sunday.

Traditions of Harvest Festival contribute to its charm. Nineteenth-century music played by Jim Kimball and Dick Bolt on the porch of Bump Tavern has added to the festival’s ambiance since its beginnings in the late 1970s. Also part of Harvest Festival for nearly all its 35 years, Dickens the Clown will entertain children and the young at heart throughout the museum grounds.

Animals always figure large at Harvest Festival, according to organizers. Visitors will be able to take in the whole museum on a horse-drawn wagon ride, marvel at demonstrations of dog obedience and agility, watch a parade of champion animals from the museum’s annual Junior Livestock Show and see cuddly alpacas and watch their agility in an obstacle course. 

Many artisans will demonstrate their skills. Visitors will be able to learn from rope-making, spinning and fiber art demonstrations.

Additions to this year’s Harvest Fest include the chance to help with harvesting potatoes and hand-scything hay in the Long Field. Children will be able to enjoy agricultural activities that include corn shelling and grinding, grain flailing and winnowing and 19th-century games in the schoolhouse. Apples will be pressed into fresh cider.

The entire family will be able to enjoy free carousel rides, sponsored by Matt Sohns and family. Organizers said an abundance of delicious foods from the season’s harvest awaits festival-goers, such as roasted corn, sausage sandwiches, and homemade soup. Children will have the chance to have fun with food during apple bobbing. 

A special attraction this year is the chance to learn about wild plant identification, foraging, and cooking on Sunday afternoon from author Dina Falconi and illustrator Wendy Hollender. They will offer a tasting of a recipe from their new book, demonstrate botanical drawing and sign copies of “Foraging and Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook.”

For an up-to-date list of activities and more information, visit

Admission to Harvest Festival is included with paid museum admission of $12 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, $6 for children age 7 to 12 and free for children 6 and younger and members of the New York State Historical Association.