By DANNY RESTIVO
With the end of summer nearing, families and children enjoyed the fading warm weather during a local farm festival Saturday.
“It’s just a fun end-of-summer event,” said Carol Vigorito, a Mill Creek MetroParks coordinator. She and other MetroParks staff members hosted the 20th annual Sunset at the Farm event at the MetroParks Farm along state Route 46 here. The evening was a chance for families to see the farm and experience its quaint atmosphere, said Vigorito.
“Its pretty much a big picnic,” she said.
Children and families enjoyed campfires, singing, hot apple cider, farm animals, face- painting, a corn maze and a hayride with some local draft horses.
“I had a lot of fun,” said Aubree Neuhaus, 6, of Canfield. She, her mom, dad and sister took a mile-long hayride pulled by two horses from the Ohio Valley Draft Horse Association.
“We come every year to see friends and kick off the fall,” said Kyle Neuhaus, Aubree’s father.
The festivities were designed so that Mahoning County residents could remember the important role farming plays in the community, said Brenda Markley, MetroParks’ agricultural programs coordinator.
“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state of Ohio,” she said. “A lot of people in Youngstown forget that.”
The evening was an opportunity for Barb Fennema of Salem to show her granddaughter, Olivia Fennema, 3, what farms are like.
“I want to teach her things and show her some things outside,” said Fennema. It was the first time Olivia had seen a farm, and her grandmother said the experience had sparked curiosity in the youngster.
“She’s at that age where she wants to see everything,” she said.
The 399-acre working farm gives young people such as Olivia a chance to see what farm life is like year-round with hands-on learning, playrooms and farm-animal barns, said Markley, adding, “We’ve got something for everyone here.”