Bristol (Rhode Island) September 3,
2013 — On most days of the year, a visit to the Coggeshall Farm Museum is a
step back in time: this 48-acre farm in Bristol is operated as if it were still
the Colonial era, so visitors can experience what life was like for so many New
Englanders who were tenant farmers in the 18th century.
But on one September weekend, fun and festivity are put front and center
for the farm’s Annual Harvest Fair.
The 40th running of this Rhode Island happening takes place Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15 from 10 AM to 5 PM. The fair gives locals and visitors alike an opportunity to enjoy fun unplugged in a beautiful pastoral setting. The event also gives those who cherish this open space and the glimpse into the past it affords an opportunity to help preserve this unique patch of Rhode Island; the Annual Harvest Fair is the farm’s largest fund-raiser of the year.
Fair-goers can participate in activities and traditional games for all ages—including hay rides, face painting, Jacob's Ladder, craft-making, a hay bale toss, sack races, watermelon seed-spitting contest, and even a Muck Boot fashion show; see the farm’s animals and hand-milk a cow; purchase heirloom plants; attend demonstrations of Colonial craftsmen skills; listen to traditional acoustic music by Trua; watch Morris dancing by the Ladies of the Rolling Pin; see the work of Rhode Island artisans and enjoy local foods.
The Coggeshall Farm Museum is open year-round. Fun and festivity may be the emphasis during the Harvest Fair, but the focus throughout the year is education for all ages. Visitors who make a trip to the farm for one of its regular programs will meet costumed interpreters who are working to preserve the farm’s heritage livestock, heirloom plants, and traditional sustainable farming practices.
The farm runs year-round programs, such as cooking demonstrations with farm-raised products and the Rhode Island Sheep and Wool Festival. All ages also enjoy the Saturday morning “Breakfast in the Barnyard” program, where visitors help with morning chores while learning about farm life and its animals; participants hunt for eggs, milk the cows, turn out the turkeys, and even help cook Jonnycakes on the hearth of the 1790s tenant farmhouse.
The Coggeshall Farm Museum is located on Coggeshall Farm Road (off Poppasquash Road) in Bristol. Admission to the Annual Harvest Fair is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 3-12 (children under 3 are free; the museum’s members receive discounted admission).
For more information about the Annual Harvest Fair or the farm’s year-round programs, visit www.coggeshallfarm.org.