Fall Harvest Festival begins Friday

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Weather permitting, members of the Tri-State Antique Tractor club will harvest a crop of sunflowers during this year’s Fall Harvest Festival at Salomon Farm. Several events are planned during the two-day event, which begins Friday. (Doree Lemert)

By Doree Lemert
For IN|FW publications

FORT WAYNE — City dwellers can get a feel for farm living at the Salomon Farm Fall Harvest Festival, slated for Friday and Saturday. The farm, a Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department facility, is located at 817 W. Dupont Road.

The two-day event will feature a variety of free, hands-on activities and demonstrations to acquaint visitors with fall harvest activities. The festival runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Eden Lamb, outdoor recreation supervisor for the parks department and the event’s coordinator, said this is the 12th official year for the festival.

“It’s a celebration of farm life, and sharing the history and culture of the American farm,” Lamb said. “With the recent opening of the newly improved Dupont Road, the farm is easy to access. We’re hoping families will come out to see what farm life in the 1930s was all about.”

The Fall Harvest Festival will feature a variety of farm animals including goats and ponies, draft horse demonstrations by the DeKalb County Horsemen’s Association, draft horse- and tractor-drawn wagon rides, oat and wheat threshing demonstrations, barrel train rides for children, corn husking and shredding, an antique farm equipment display and tours of the newly opened Salomon Family Homestead.

The historic Salomon Homestead officially opened to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 5. The Fall Harvest Festival is the first chance for farm visitors to tour the newly restored homestead, which features period antiques to reflect farm life in the 1930s.

“Some Salomon family relatives donated furniture that was original to the homestead. They felt like their items were coming back home,” Lamb said.

The homestead restoration process took more than two years to complete.

Several special events will also take place during the festival. On Saturday, an antique tractor parade will start at noon. The parade, conducted by members of the Tri-State Antique Tractor Club, will feature tractors from manufacturers such as John Deere, International Harvester, Moline and Ford. Dave Fike, president of the organization, said club members would also demonstrate the numerous pieces of farm equipment that are part of the Salomon Farm Heritage Barn collection.

“We’ll be operating threshers, have a sawmill set up, and will use the corn husking and shelling machines. We also have a rock crusher we will be demonstrating. Weather permitting, the club members will harvest a field of sunflowers that they planted at the farm this year,” Fike said.

The Salomon Farm Farmers Market will be open for business on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and will feature fresh farm fruits, vegetables and herbs grown locally. Also available at the market are locally sourced fresh baked goods, honey, maple syrup and handmade crafts. Concessions will also be available. Admission to the festival is free.

Salomon Farm was a gift to the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department in 1996, made by the Salomon family. The farm park, open year-round, features a variety of family-friendly activities to teach what farm life was like during the 1930s.