STRONGSVILLE – A weekend of fall fun welcomed guests to the historic village’s Harvest Festival Sept. 27 and 28.
Old-fashioned activities highlighted the annual event, and offered something for visitors of all ages. Every year, people come back to enjoy snickerdoodle cookies baked over an open fire in the log cabin, candle-making, crafts, a farmers market, a petting zoo, antique cars, good food and the chance to win a raffled quilt or the cow pie lottery.
New this year were some of the displays and demonstrations. There were old tools and machines, including an antique washing machine and farm tools that were discovered in the recently renovated Roe-Chapman Barn. There was also a master gardener who spoke about the historical use of herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. Others brought in new artwork and displays to share with the community.
Crafters did their work onsite during the festival. Some were carving wood in the Roe-Chapman House, while others made rugs on a loom or by braiding in the Baldwin House. Throughout the weekend a wide variety of artists were there to display their work and do demonstrations.
The chance for big winnings on Sunday had people buzzing. The cow pie lottery is a fun and truly old-fashioned event that brings people back every year. Buyers purchased a square on a large grid in the grass. Then, a young cow was put into the fenced-in area to relax as onlookers waited for her to make a “cow pie.” Whichever square she went on was the $1,000 winner, and the owners of the four surrounding squares took home $250 each.
“People love the cow pie lottery. It’s funny to see how excited they get about it,” said Jean Wittrock, event chair.
Another way people could win was by purchasing tickets for a hand-made quilt that was raffled off at the end of the festival. Those tickets sold for just $1 each. The quilt was made by Mary Lou Wright and Ruth Brickley.
As people made their way through the historic village, they had the opportunity to learn about the history of Strongsville and the way people created their own entertainment in the early days. For the members of the historical society, the goal is always fun and education.
“It’s a gift to the community to open up the village and have them see the artisans and the buildings, and have people ask questions and learn about what they are seeing. That’s the magic of this – the education that comes out of it,” said Marsha Lundgren, historical society president.
The festival also draws in guests for a good meal – or two. On the first day of the event, there is a pig roast on the grounds of the village. On the second day, an old-fashioned chicken dinner brings the event to a close at the United Methodist Church. Gordon and Ethel Evans have been behind the dinner for many faithful years, and made this year their last as people enjoyed the love they put into it.
All of the people who were preparing food, answering questions, doing their art, giving tours, selling raffle tickets and helping to make the event a success were volunteers. That means that the money brought in from the weekend went back to the historical society for the work they do in the village to keep up the buildings.
For the first time this year, admission to the festival was free. That was thanks to the support of sponsors Mike Catan and the Catan family, Mike and Erma Kalinich, Mayor Tom and Debbie Perciak, Roger Riachi and RFC Contracting. With their sponsorship, along with the cow pie lottery and quilt raffle, the historical society expected to bring in about $6,000. All of the money they raise helps to maintain and restore the aging buildings.