Troy, unplugged

Fall Farm Festival at Lost Creek Reserve

By Tammy Newsom

Photo: Visitors take a wagon ride down Scarecrow Lane at Lost Creek Reserve; photo: Amanda Smith

Have you ever dived into a vat of corn? Or fallen into a load of hay, just for fun? Maybe not, but chances are your grandparents did. For those of us that missed out, Miami County Parks District has created a better way to bring back simpler times by hosting the fifth annual Fall Farm Festival at Lost Creek Reserve, near Troy.

“The Fall Farm Festival is about creating experiences you might see on a farm,” said Amanda Smith, Marketing Coordinator for the Miami County Parks District. “This sparks the imagination and the importance of kids getting outside to reconnect with nature.”

The Fall Farm Fest brings to life the history of the Knoop Family Farmstead. According to the District’s historical register, in the spring of 1798, John Knoop and family settled at the site of the former village of Staunton, which is now annexed as part of the city of Troy, off Route 202. The Knoop Family built a log cabin in 1800, and a second home in 1883 – now standing – a gingerbread Victorian farmhouse. The Knoops were drawn to this area by the Native Americans’ hospitality, the herbal plantation and the rich topsoil, and decided to stay because this was the perfect place for a settlement.

“The property sits up on an embankment that overlooks the area, with a freshwater spring that still runs to serve as water source and for refrigeration,” said Tama Cassidy, Assistant Director of Education for Miami County Parks District Office.

Sprawled over 456 acres, the farmstead encompasses a family cemetery, five barns, oak trees, savannah trees, a walnut grove and a full working farm, producing beans and corn for dairy cattle.

“Over the next two centuries, the Knoops developed close ties to Troy and Miami County,” Smith explained. “At one time, the family owned a waterworks, a buggy manufacturer and helped to start the first bank of Troy.”

In 2006, Mark Knoop and wife Dorothy donated and sold some of the property and farmland to Miami County, to preserve its heritage.

Fall Farm Fest came about a couple years later. “This is not a typical festival where you have vendor after vendor,” Smith said. “This event is centered on experiences, not popular technology-driven activities.”

Fall Farm Fest features a family-friendly atmosphere. The park hosts a 6.2-acre corn maze, straw pile, sack races, pony rides and a farm animal petting zoo. There is a scarecrow contest along the farm lane, with up to 44 homemade scarecrows promoting local businesses. A pumpkin patch sells $2 pumpkins and local musicians are brought in to play live bluegrass, folk and country.

“On the back of the property is a cabin, set up with compressed-air corn-shooter cannon to shoot targets,” Cassidy said.

You can tour the Bank Barn and the Museum Barn to see the old carriages and antique farm implements used on the farm or in the region. The Bank Barn is a three-story barn built into the embankment, so the animals could have a walk-out basement for grazing.

Signage is posted around the Bank Barn, explaining the history of hitching posts, the farm lane and rows of trees and how crops are rotated. A second barn, the Museum Barn, once used as an old corn crib, shows hand-hewn wood that went into the building of the barn.

Visitors can expect live agricultural demonstrations. The Ohio Farm Bureau is providing a simulated cow-milking experience, using an animatronic milk cow and holds a two-hour butter-churning event. There is to be a sheep dog herding demo, in which the sheep dogs will be let loose in the sheep pasture. People can see a live chainsaw demo, a puppet show, watch local bee experts make honey and an authentic blacksmith work.

There are wagon rides, a self-guided hike through a storybook walk and a kiddies’ tractor pull.

Ohio Native Plants has a nursery to show and will sell souvenir mums. Also expected at the event is a paper-making display, ATVs and live farm equipment. Pulled pork and hot dogs are served by Boy Scout Troop #365. Ice cream, pies and even buffalo will also be served.

“You can enjoy the vibrant reds of the barn,” said Cassidy. “The leaves are starting to change and will be close to peak. With the fall colors and atmosphere, this is a laid-back feel,”

Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau just rebranded the county as Home. Grown. Great.

Having been preserved for posterity, it certainly is.

The Fall Farm Festival commences Saturday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 12 from noon–5 p.m. at Lost Creek Reserve, 2385 E. State Route 41 in Troy. Although the Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau accept donations, general admission to the festival is free. Donations to the corn maze for adults and children 12 and up are $5; ages 5–11, $3; and children under 5, are free. For more information about Fall Farm Fest or Lost Creek Reserve, please call the Miami County Parks District at 937.335.6273, or visit homegrowngreat.com/events/fall-farm-fest.

Reach DCP freelance writer Tammy Newsom at TammyNewsom@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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