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Harvest Festival at Curran Homestead

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ORRINGTON - On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors to The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum at 372 Fields Pond Road in Orrington can take a step back in time to an era when their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were young, and observe or take part in many activities that would be very familiar to members of those generations.

Brightly-colored autumn leaves announce daily that Summer has departed, and warm days of Indian Summer now fade into the chilly evenings of fall. As the hours of sunlight grow shorter with each passing day, marching from the equinox inexorably toward the solstice, we are reminded of the looming prospect of another Maine winter.

This is the time of year when rural people of generations past made the most of these decreasing hours of daylight, preparing for the cold and snow that was to follow. Crops were gathered and stowed in barns and granaries or taken to market, garden vegetables were harvested and stored or preserved, woodsheds were packed to capacity with firewood and orchards were carefully combed to bring in bushels of fruit that would provide flavorful nourishment throughout the bleak winter months.

Curran Farm Museum Director Bruce Bowden invites one and all to come and see the cider mill turning. Help turn the crank, and watch as bushels of local apples are transformed into a tasty beverage. Enjoy samples of fresh-baked cookies and applesauce from the wood-fired cookstove in the farmhouse kitchen. Watch blacksmiths heat and bend iron and steel into interesting and useful objects in the smithy. Visit and pet small farm animals in the barn, including Zeus, a 4-H lamb raised by Colin Jenkins and recently donated by the Miller family of Bangor. See the return of Thor, a Scottish Highland bull calf from A Wee Bit Farm in Orland, who also visited The Curran Homestead in March. Take a turn at doing laundry early 1900s style. Watch blocks of wood turned with great skill into useful items on a lathe by master woodturner Temple Blackwood of Castine. Join Earl Strandel and his team of horses for a wagon ride and take a ride in a 1917 Model T automobile. See antique engines belonging to members of the Maine Antique Power Association power their way through logs to make firewood. There's a lot happening down on the farm!

In addition to the myriad living-history demonstrations noted above, Fresh-Cut Grass, a group of local bluegrass musicians, will perform in concert between 11 a.m. and noon. At 1 p.m. members of the Maine Antique Tractor Club's Doodlebug group return for their final competition of the year and put their antique and home-made vehicles through their paces. Mostly 1920s and '30s engines, the doodlebugs (also known locally as jitterbugs) compete in a fun contest to see who can pull the most weight and win bragging rights!

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, since viewing will be on the farm's hillside overlooking the parking lot where the pulling challenge will take place.

Admission for adult members is $6, children and students $4, with a maximum family cost of $20. For non-members: adults $8, children and students $5, with a maximum family cost of $26. Admission includes all events, activities and samples. Come on out - a day of fun awaits you!

The Curran Homestead, celebrating its 22nd anniversary year, is a living history farm and museum preserving a vast collection of eclectic, turn-of-the-20th-century artifacts for education purposes. Using these original and reproduction artifacts, the Curran volunteers provide hands-on experiences and exhibits illustrating the rural farm-family culture and economy in Maine, provoking thought and discussion about our history.

The Curran Homestead is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) non-profit educational center that preserves and perpetuates the culture, values and lifestyle of the family farm in rural eastern Maine and relies upon membership, donations, and our local community for support. For more information, visit www.curranhomestead.org.

Directions from Bangor:

Cross the Penobscot River to Brewer and proceed out Wilson Street; at McDonalds turn right onto Greenpoint Road and go to the end. Turn left on Wiswell Road and go 1.6 miles to a right turn onto Fields Pond Road. The Curran Homestead is on the right about 1 mile.

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