Burlington families took a step back in time and enjoyed an unseasonably warm Harvest Festival at Bronte Creek Provincial Park last weekend.
There was plenty to get taste buds watering, including fresh apple cider, corn dogs, sweet kettle corn, and apple blossoms. Autumn scents wafted through the air as children played in the hay bales, people roasted marshmallows over campfires, and baked goods were cooked in stone fireplaces.
Festival volunteer Daisy Lin said: “This event is run by all the donations from people. It’s really good to volunteer here. You get to have experiences [with] people. The kids enjoy roasting marshmallows, you get to pick pumpkins.”
Guests were able to choose their own pumpkin from the patch, and carve it to take home as a souvenir. Wagon rides toured families throughout the trails, as well as to the Fun Barn. Children enjoyed running around the renovated barn, which included multiple slides, tire swings, and tunnels. The farm has plenty of animals including ponies, which provided rides for the children.
The festival showcased what it would have been like to live during the harvest season 100 years ago. Workers dressed in historical attire provided insight about the early-settlement era.
Festival worker Cathy Entwistle said: “Harvest was a really important time of year for the farms in this area. So, we’re trying to focus on showing people all the work that went into actually bringing in all that food that you’ve been growing all through the summer.”
Hands-on activities such as the production of apple cider using an original apple-press and interactive blacksmith demonstrations gave a very authentic feel to the event.
“Every year there would be a competition amongst these farms to get the migrant workers that picked these apples,” said Doug Entwistle, president of Friends of Bronte Creek Provincial Park. “So whoever had the best apple cider would get the best workers, because they would come back for the cider.”
The beautifully restored Victorian farmhouse, built in 1899, was also open for tours. Guests were able to escape the modern world as they explored the fully furnished and decorated home. This showcased what the living arrangements would have looked like for families living on the farm over a century ago.
Bronte Creek offers other events throughout the seasons, including the Camper Halloween Weekend, Ghost walks, Victorian Christmas Festival, and Maple Syrup Festival. To check out event details, visit brontecreek.org.