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A day down on Wakeman Town Farm cultivates all kinds of simple fun

Published 7:38 am, Monday, July 14, 2014

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  • Three-year-old Finley Halstead meets a chicken Sunday at Wakeman Town Farm. Photo: Nancy Guenther Chapman / Westport News
    Three-year-old Finley Halstead meets a chicken Sunday at Wakeman Town Farm. Photo: Nancy Guenther Chapman

 

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From pickle making to chicken patting, children got a glimpse of a simpler life Sunday at the Wakeman Town Farm's annual Family Fun Day.

The event, a fundraiser for the town-owned agri-education center, drew hundreds of visitors, both Westport residents and out-of-towners. Children played the kinds of games their great-grandparents might have enjoyed, from potato sack races to tug-of-war to pie-eating contest. They also got a chance to enjoy yoga next to the sheep pen, build birdhouses and learn how to plant seeds in pots made from old newspapers.

Cameron Rubino, 8, cut up cucumbers and garlic to make pickles. She was there with her two sisters, and according to dad Mark Rubino, all three daughters love Wakeman Farm.

With the prevalence of electronic devices in everyday life, the farm "brings it back down to earth," he said.

A hay circle at the front corner of the farm's Cross Highway property, next to the bunny cages and compost bins, served as a pen for a rabbit, where children could sit and "Meet the Bunny." The "Meet the Chickens" area was steps away, in an enclosed area attached to the chicken coop.

Finley Halstead, 3, and his 1-year-old sister Arwyn spent time patting the chickens, causing 8-year-old Georgia resident Jayden Saenz to comment, "It's so cute it should be illegal" when he walked into the pen.

Jayden said that's his catch phrase -- everything "should be illegal," he said.

"I am so happy they preserved this like a farm school," said his grandfather, Edward Saenz. Saenz said he has lived in Westport most of his life and remembers when Wakeman Town Farm was one big corn field.

"My kids used to run through the corn field. They'd get lost and we'd have to yell for them," Saenz said.

Jayden lives in Statesboro, Ga., and is spending the summer in Westport. That's not new -- he went to the Earthplace nursery school here when his mother was deployed to Afghanistan as a soldier, Saenz said.

Jayden won the pie-eating contest and tied for first in the sack race. He went home with a cucumber seed to plant in his grandfather's garden.

Also visiting from the South was Annette Geary of Atlanta, who said, "Nana's having fun," after helping her 2-year-old granddaughter, Noey Parsons, have bewildered fun in her first sack race.

"I think it's a great event," said Noey's mother, Ayana Parsons of Westport. "It's bringing, I think, the community together. We're having a good time."

"I was raised in Alabama and in Georgia, and I had to come all the way to Connecticut to feed a bunny," said Geary. "I've never fed a bunny before."