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Farm Fun Fest a learning experience

September 19, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Ashley Ocker plays on bales of hay Saturday at the Fall Farm Fun Fest sponsered by Franklin County Farm Bureau.
By Dana Brown,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- More than 3,000 people made hay while the sun shined Saturday at the 20th annual Franklin County Fall Farm Fun Fest on the 145-acre farm of Vernon and Luanne Horst in Chambersburg.

The free event drew in city and country folks alike for a fun-filled event geared toward sharing Franklin County's bounty.

Ann Bert, who co-chairs the event with her husband, Ernie, said the Fall Farm Fun Fest is all about education.

"We hope people take away a positive perspective on agriculture," she said. "Our main goal is to educate the nonag public."

The event included nine walking education stations and five wagon ride stations positioned around the farm that were designed to teach people about the different aspects of farming.

A large tent held displays from various organizations promoting agricultural products, many of which handed out free samples.

Children were given hands-on experience at shelling corn off the cob or stroking a cow's nose.

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The main attraction was the Horsts' barn and the robotic milker, the first installed in Franklin County.

"It's all about educating the public so they can virtually see where their food comes from," Vernon Horst said.

Patti Hetherington of Fayetteville, Pa., said she and her family look forward to the event every year.

"We just happened upon it a couple years ago and watch for it every year now," she said. "It's good for the city children to come out to the farm."

"It's a great opportunity to get out and see a working farm," said Hilary Bailor of Rockville, Md. "We learn a little something each time we visit."

Earlier in the week, about 1,800 Franklin County fourth-grade students visited the Horst farm as part of the Farm Bureau's Agricultural Education Institute.

Bert said the day is free of charge to all school districts in Franklin County and is "a qualified educational experience that meets Pennsylvania's academic standards."

Every year, the event travels to a different Franklin County farm, takes about "$8,000 in donations of many kinds" and about 400 volunteers to pull off, Bert said.

"We work on this event year-round," she said.

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