Although Oktoberfest at Merritt Lake kicks off the weekend tonight, the first official fall festival that I'm aware of, locally, is Lamborn Farm's Fall Festival this Sunday, September 27, from 11AM-6 PM. There are a couple of ways to get to Lamborn Farm:
1) Throw all caution to the wind and follow your GPS blindly down Metropolitan. Get increasingly frustrated that Metropolitan seems to be perpetually torn to pieces and you can't make a left until you get all the way down to 20th (all the while, your Google Maps has been chiming in every 3 seconds to make the next immediate left, starting at 10th Street) and then completely throw your hands up in despair when you realize you have to take 155th St. for about a mile. 155th Street is mostly gravel.
2) Take 4th Street all the way to Lansing (it will become Main Street) and turn right on 4-H Road, past Freddy's (c'mon, we ALL know where Freddy's is...I don't judge) and just past the Lansing Public Library. There are signs and the GPS should start acting right to bring you in the rest of the way. But the address is technically in Leavenworth. Three cheers for paved all the way!
You can read about the farm's interesting history and how it has evolved to meet changing agricultural needs here. It is still a working farmstead (offering grass-fed beef and free-range pork) and was just added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. The barn, which hosts weddings, receptions, reunions and group parties, is over 100 years old and it was just restored in May 2012. The Lamborn Family continues to improve the festival and the farm, which seems to perfectly anticipate the needs and wants of the community.
Sunday's Fall Festival will include bounce houses for the kids (I feel utterly deprived that bounce houses were not a thing during my childhood in the 80's), local arts and craft vendors (*ahem* 90 days until Christmas), a concession stand (featuring taco salad, pulled pork sandwiches and root beer floats), a pumpkin patch (already picked, thank goodness, because I've had enough of my toddler wiping out repeatedly on pumpkin patch vines), entertainment, and MUCH more! It's basically a party on the farm and there's a reason they sing country songs about that. What a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I was able to visit Mr. Lamborn's farm this week and my first impression upon walking up was simply how homey it feels. It's not perfectly manicured lawns or shiny new barns that are open only for the month of October. It's not the commercialization of pumpkin patches (and the prices they charge) or individually ticketed activities for the kids that make the whole experience seem economically driven. It is the beauty of a working farm that has opened its doors to the community. It is a family who wants to share their land, their bounty and their vision with anyone who is up for a tiny taste of farm life.
While you're there, take a peek inside the barn. The bottom level is the ideal spot to capture a canvas-worthy photo of your kids.
If you are interested in getting married (or re-married now that there's Pinterest), I can't imagine a more idyllic setting than Lamborn Farm. Mr. Lamborn put a bid in on these pews from a Baptist church in Topeka and, to his surprise, won the bid. They sit on a gently sloping hill, nature's ampitheater seating. And holy cow, they are gorgeous...especially under the setting Kansas sun.
Lamborn Farm isn't just open for the festival or weddings, though. They are happy to host just about any event you can imagine. Previous autumn events have included group pumpkin carvings, build-a-scarecrow, campfires and wagon rides. Their annual Haunted Hay Ride (and more kid-friendly "spooky" hayride from 8-9 PM) will be held October 16 & 17 and 23 & 24. But if you can dream it, they can probably do it! Personally, after perusing their Facebook page photos, I'm trying to assemble my own scarecrow building crew!
And the farm is open for the season everyday, from September 26-October 31, if your Sunday is already booked. They are also available by reservation year-round for campfires, small animals, barrel train, chuck wagon meals and birthday parties.
The Important Stuff:
Address: 25761 151st Street, Leavenworth, KS
Phone number: 913-727-5666
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall Festival: Sunday, September 27, 11 AM-6 PM
Admission for Fall Festival: Ages 2-12: $3.00
Ages 13-adult: $5.00
Haunted Hay Ride: October 16 & 17, 23 & 24
Admission for Haunted Hay Ride: Children $5.00
A special thank you to Mr. Lamborn for the chat (he is, as my Papa used to say, "quite a character" who loves to talk, show off cell phone pictures of the many beautiful weddings they've hosted, and crack jokes until the sun goes down) and to Jackie for letting me post photos of her 2 adorable children!
I hope to see y'all on Sunday! My mouth is already watering for pulled pork and a root beer float.