Fall on the Farm

   The last “festival” event of our 2016 season has now taken place at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). After our Canada Day celebrations, then Pioneer Days on the August long weekend, Fall on the Farm has once again completed our trio of annual MHV festivals. We still have a number of other events on our calendar, but this brings to a close the high-intensity preparations and volunteer recruitment that are part of every MHV festival season. Now it’s time to focus on planning next year’s festivals.

   Despite heavy rain this past Sunday and a somewhat uncertain forecast for Monday, we were pleased to see how many people chose to spend their Labour Day holiday with us. We wondered if perhaps Sunday’s rain brought some people home early from their cottages and campgrounds, allowing them to participate in our Fall on the Farm festivities.

   Once again the village was teaming with small children, who found great pleasure in the face painting, barrel-train rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, inflatable play structures, petting zoo, pony rides and other children’s activities. As usual, Mr. Ken made an appearance on our main stage under the tent with his latest family magic-and-comedy show. This popular entertainer has become quite a hit with many children and their parents.

   The main stage also featured two other bands: Hollis Brown entertained us with a set of Blue-Grass and Folk music, and 5 Acres provided both classic and contemporary Country music. While our tent is a wonderful venue for these slightly informal concerts, we are looking forward to having our new Summer Pavilion in place for our 2017 season. While many people sit inside the tent to enjoy to the performances, many are also able to listen from the picnic area just outside the tent. Our new Pavilion is intended to replicate that type of open environment.

   The local Steam Club worked hard to catch up on the threshing that didn’t get done during Pioneer Days. They processed four loads of sheaves, which yielded almost two wagon-loads of grain and a large pile of straw. Our animals will be well fed again next summer. Because the steamer was needed for the threshing machine, the sawmill operators enlisted a gas-powered tractor to operate the sawmill.

   One of the unique and most-popular features of this fall festival is the butchering demonstrations. Hog and chicken butchering were both carried out, as these were common fall activities on many farms. It’s quite remarkable how many people gather round to observe. MHV volunteers also made butter with an old-fashioned churn, baked bread in an out-door clay oven, quilted, made dill pickles and provided various other demonstrations.

   Food is always an important element in each of our festival events. The Livery Barn Restaurant serves the ethnic Russian Mennonite dishes like Vereniki, Cabbage Borscht, Farmer Sausage, Rhubarb Plautz and various other tasty dishes. The MHV Auxiliary faithfully bakes their famous waffles and serves them with vanilla sauce. During the fall festival, they also serve fresh deep-fried apple fritters in place of watermelon and Rollkuchen. The other unique food item that makes an appearance at Fall on the Farm is corn on the cob. Freshly cooked and rolled in butter, it’s a nice snack.

   Although our festival season has now come to an end, there are a few other events still on tap at MHV in 2016. On September 18 we will again offer Supper from the Field. This is a dinner highlighting locally grown items, presented in conjunction with Open Farm Day, an annual event sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Agricultural Societies. And on September 22 we will be celebrating our many volunteers with a Volunteer Appreciation evening. In addition to these events, the MHV Auxiliary will be hosting a dinner on September 29, with The Right Honorable Janice C. Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, as our special guest. So we will continue to see a lot of activity at MHV for the next few weeks.

   Today someone asked me why a festival like Fall on the Farm is important. In addition to the fact that it helps us remember and learn from the history that got us to where we are today, it also provides a gathering place for the community. We get together to celebrate, to eat good food, to enjoy one another’s company and to build community. The festivals at MHV contribute to the health of our community.

Calendar of Events

- September 18: Supper From the Field – 5:30 PM

- September 22: Volunteer Appreciation Event – 7:00 PM

- September 29: Auxiliary Fundraising Dinner

About the Author

Gary is responsible for the overall management of MHV. Guiding the staff, informing the board, and networking with officials, volunteers, corporate sponsors, individual donors and other guests. He has a business diploma and a MA in Global Studies from Providence Theological Seminary. With his family he did humanitarian work for 18 years in Asia, including being a CEO of a Compost Enterprise in China. He loves to discuss the Mennonite story and how it is relevant in our world. Learn more about the MHV.

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