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Fall Farm Fun Fest inspires similar events

September 10, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER/Staff Correspondent

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa - It was the first, and it is still the best. Franklin County's Franklin Fall Farm Fun Fest may have inspired 54 similar events across the state, but according to representatives of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, it remains the leading festival of its kind in Pennsylvania.

Held at Mount Pleasant Farm in Fayetteville, the 2006 Franklin Fall Farm Fun Fest drew more than 2,000 people on Saturday in addition to the 1,800 fourth grade students who came on Thursday and Friday.

Lynn and Sue Eberly, owners of the Mount Pleasant Farm, hosted the three-day event on their 176-acre property in conjunction with the Franklin County Farm Bureau.

Ernest Bert Sr., co-chair of the Promotion and Education committee of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, said the event, which began in 1990, was designed to educate Franklin County about farming.

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"This is about agricultural awareness," he said. "It's a way to show the public what farmers do."

Beginning on Thursday, the dairy and duck farm was turned into a hands-on institute for agricultural education.

"People have the chance to touch, smell, feel, and experience a farm," Lynn Eberly said.

The festival educated visitors with hand-milking demonstrations, wagon tours, and a chance to learn about raising ducks.

Despite the event's publicity, many visitors to the Mount Pleasant Farm on Saturday said they learned of the festival by word of mouth.

"A friend called and told me about this," Lisa Landreth of Shippensburg, Pa., said.

Bert added that many students who came on the Thursday and Friday field trips brought their families back on Saturday for more.

As farms across the county continue to be turned into housing developments, Eberly describes his family as a minority.

"We (farmers) are the minority," he says. "People don't realize that this is where their food comes from, not a grocery store."

Joel Rotz, director of State Government Relations for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, also commented on the pressure to develop farmland in the county.

"People see farms as just open space," he said gesturing to the farm. "They don't realize the economic role of agriculture in the state."

Rotz congratulated the Franklin County Farm Bureau on the success of the event.

"We are proud of what Franklin County has done here," he said. The Franklin County Farm Bureau, which holds the festival at a different farm each year, has yet to select the 2007 host.

Photo by Kate S. Alexander

Micah Landreth, 4, of Shippensburg, Pa., holds one of Mount Pleasant Farm's 36,000 ducks at Saturday's Franklin Fall Farm Fun Fest in Fayetteville, Pa.

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