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Saturday October 4th, 2014

Posted at 11:00am

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The air is cool and crisp, which means that it’s autumn and it’s time to celebrate fall traditions and our area’s agricultural heritage at the John R. Park Homestead’s Harvest and Horses Festival this Sunday.

From 12noon until 4pm, the area’s only living history agricultural museum west of London will host its popular Harvest and Horses Festival.

“This event was launched last year as a combination of two of the Homestead’s other popular events,” 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; horses were integral to all aspects of farming well into the 1900s.”

This Homestead event is presented 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 – from ponies and miniature horses to the largest draft breeds including Percherons and everything in between. “What sets this event apart from other horse events 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,” said Cobban. “The parade through the ring starts at 1:30 sharp, so bring a lawn chair and arrive early to ensure a great view. A new feature for this year’s event will be pony cart rides for children before the parade of horses.” Pony cart rides will be offered between 12:30 and 1:30pm.

The event also offers visitors the opportunity to participate in traditional harvest activities including cider pressing, apple drying, sausage stuffing, corn husk craft making, and more. Families are also 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, curious visitors can learn the history of certain superstitions, such as 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, and more. Try “divinations” to determine your future – results 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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