Hayrides, pumpkin-decorating, a bonfire and more fall fun will be in abundance on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Brown Family Environmental Center’s annual Harvest Festival.
The event at the 480-acre nature preserve, held in conjunction with Kenyon’s Family Weekend, celebrates the myriad ways people can connect to nature in Knox County. John and Bonnie Snyder from Our Garden in Danville, Ohio, will have seasonal produce available, and the McFarland Llama Farm in nearby Mount Vernon will showcase some of their llamas and Angora rabbits.
“The BFEC Harvest Festival celebrates the season and acknowledges what is happening in nature,” said Noelle Jordan, manager of the BFEC, “with crops ripening and being harvested, as well as the natural harvest of nuts, seeds and berries that is available to wild animals. I love that our festival, surrounded by cropland, honors the tremendous role that our community plays in the agricultural industry.”
Apples feature prominently in this year’s Harvest Festival, with a new “air apple-bobbing” activity as well as a hand-cranked cider press that will turn out fresh cider for visitors. The Mount Vernon-based Science Play-Space Initiative, also known as SPI Spot, will conduct an experiment using iodine to test the starch levels and ripeness of various apples.
The Ohio State University Master Gardener group returns this year to lead its popular pumpkin-decorating activity. Children also will enjoy sack races as well as hayrides through the BFEC.
“Hayrides are always such a magical thing,” Jordan said. “Mr. Skinner’s horse-drawn wagon will take guests through one of our restored prairies — a beautiful ecosystem during the fall, full of golds and oranges.”
The Handsome Devils, a popular folk-blues band composed of Kenyon faculty, staff and students, will provide live music.
Photos from the 19th annual Knox County Nature Photography Contest will be on display at the festival, and festivalgoers are invited to vote on their favorite submissions. The winner of the “people’s choice” vote, along with overall winners in the children’s, adult and student divisions, will be announced at the festival.
All activities at the festival are free. Concessions will be available for purchase. A free shuttle will run for the duration of the festival from the Kenyon College Bookstore to the BFEC.