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Thursday October 3rd, 2013

Posted at 1:00pm

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Jerome and Holly McCracken demonstrating the stone boat with their horse, ‘Big Mike’, a 12 year old Belgian at the John R. Park Homestead.

This Sunday, it’s time to celebrate the area’s autumn traditions and agricultural heritage. Visitors to the John R. Park Homestead’s Harvest and Horses Festival will be guaranteed to experience old-fashioned fall merriment on the farm.

Between noon and 4pm, the museum will host its first ever Harvest and Horses Festival. “This new event is a combination of two of the Homestead’s other popular events – the Parade of Horses and the Harvest Festival,” explains Homestead Curator, Janet Cobban. “We decided to merge these two popular events into one larger event to grow the fall festival atmosphere. Horses and the harvest season are a natural fit, as horses were integral to all aspects of farming well into the 1900s.”

The Homestead’s biggest one day event of the year will  take place in partnership with the Essex County Carriage Club and other horse owners who volunteer to bring their animals to the show.

Many different breeds will be featured at this event – from ponies and miniature horses to the largest draft breeds including Percherons and everything in between. A new feature for this year’s event will be pony rides for children, offered by Sarah Parks Horsemanship. “What sets this event apart from other horse events,’ said Cobban “is the chance for visitors to get up close; to meet the horses and their owners, to learn their names, and to pat these magnificent animals.

The parade through the ring starts at 1:30 sharp, so bring a lawn chair and arrive early to ensure a great view. Please leave your dogs at home for this event, as they can disturb the horses.

Visitors can also participate in traditional harvest activities including cider pressing, apple drying, sausage stuffing, corn husk craft making, seed saving in the garden and more.

Families are invited to climb the spooky staircase and listen to scary stories in the attic of the 1842 house at 12:30pm and 2:30pm. In the house’s parlour, the superstitious visitors can discover why horseshoes were always hung in a certain direction, why salt is thrown over the left shoulder when spilled, and what it means when a bird comes into your house, as seasonal Victorian traditions are explained. Cobban invites guests, “Try out “Divinations” to determine your future – results are not guaranteed!”

The Homestead is located at 915 County Road 50, at the corner of Iler Road, on the shore of Lake Erie.

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