Fun is rooted in learning at Wakeman Town Farm
There was a bumper crop of fun Saturday at the Wakeman Town Farm as it hosted, appropriately, its inaugural Family Fun Day.
Kids, followed by their parents, scurried from one activity to the next at the 134 Cross Highway town-owned agricultural and sustainability center, enjoying face painting, climbing on an antique fire engine, pickling cucumbers, petting chickens, taking turns on a swingset and mini luge, a silent auction, pony rides and a pie-eating contest.
"This is the first year we're doing this," said Carrie Aitkenhead, the farm's co-steward with her husband, Mike. "We had hundreds of attendees today, to meet the animals and play the games. And we couldn't have asked for better weather. There were so many kids here, which was beautiful to see.
"It was so successful, we want to do it again next year," she added. "Making kids part of the farm and sustainability movement has been missing locally, so this is what it's all about. I'm happy."
The farm's public relations coordinator, Christy Colasurdo, remarked, "What a difference a year makes. In the span of a few short months, these guys have been able to pull together the community to execute several successful events, including a fall pancake breakfast that drew 800 people and hundreds to today's grassroots event.
"The farm is a community gem," Colasurdo said. "People that don't know about us are thrilled to discover us right in their backyard. This is a place where people can bring their kids, get back in touch with nature, get their hands dirty in the garden, take summer camp and so much more."
It's a sentiment that local parents share.
"My son Andrew, who's 11, is in the farm apprenticeship program and has an amazing year here," said Mike Taets of Westport. "He has shared a lot of his knowledge with me, which has positively altered how I approach gardening at home and my environmental consciousness. He's learned about composting, we now keep chickens ... and so much more."
Betsy Phillips-Kahn, the Wakeman Town Farm events coordinator, urged more local business involvement in the center to support its programming.
"There are so many synergies between the farm and local business -- so many tie-ins are possible."
For program and sponsorship information about Wakeman Town Farm, visit www.wakemantownfarm.org or call 203-557-9195.