News from Garfield Farm
CAMPTON HILLS- On Sunday, October 2nd Garfield Farm Museum's Harvest Days will celebrate its 30th year of portraying the settlement history of northern Illinois from 11:30am - 4pm. As a traditional community gathering of familiar faces and new friends, Harvest Days demonstrates how Illinois‚ past will be portrayed in the future when Garfield Farm Museum is fully developed and authentically functioning as an 1840s working farm.
What started as its first fundraiser to generate interest and economic support, it was known as the Fall Festival and featured various opportunities for entertainment and education. Originally a pet show with best dressed pets and a Sunday morning breakfast were some of the different ways to draw attention to the museum during this event. As time evolved and development of the museum advanced, more of the history of the farm was featured including demonstrations of historic mid19th century household and farm skills. Today almost all of the activities of Harvest Days directly connect to a past era in America that is so hard to imagine today.
Just being out on this 374 acre farmstead with its woods and prairie, gravel road and dirt lanes, and its green fields of hay and golden brown stands of corn, is an escape for most visitors and certainly a respite from the hustle of modern life. The event itself is a cultural phenomena as neighbors and friends from as far as California come to help put on the activities for others to enjoy and discover.
Harvest Days provides children and adults alike with the opportunity to learn about the realities of our rural heritage. The historic demonstrations remind all of the incredible amount of effort it took to survive in a non-mechanized world. As wheat is run through the fanning mill, children can see firsthand how the grain that made the mid-west so important, was processed in the 19th century. Fall was the time to harvest the bounty of the orchard, and apples were a versatile and important crop. The flash of red and clatter of gears, the sweet fragrance that arises as the apples are crushed, and the golden brown cider flowing into the bucket capture the attention of young and old alike at the cider pressing demonstration.
The demonstrations of 1840s household and farm skills at Harvest Days stimulate the minds of the young and the old. Their imaginations are catered to by the words and tall tales of Reid Miller, Teller of Tall Tales, whose traditional yarns and songs fit the historic setting of Garfield Farm.
Visitors can watch an archaeological excavation near the site of the original log cabin built in 1835 and help screen the soil for evidence of the Culbertson and Garfield families that once lived there. The excavation will be conducted by Jim Yingst from the Heartland Archaeological Research Program.
Tours of the 1846 brick inn will be ongoing. Tavern tours often spark conversations between grandparent and child as grandparents recall their childhood visits to family farms. Children will delight in seeing the museum's farm animals. These include mostly rare heritage breeds of chickens, turkeys, sheep, hogs, and oxen. Tours of the museum's prairie reconnect visitors to nature and its resilience, as the last prairie flowers bloom and go to seed.
A bake sale will be held and refreshments offered in the museum's visitor's center, the Atwell Burr House. Donations for Harvest Days are $6 for adults and $3 for children under twelve.
Garfield Farm Museum is the only historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by donors and volunteers as an 1840s working farm museum. Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt.38 on Garfield Road. For information, call (630) 584-8485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.