Friday, September 25, 2015

On the Calendar for Sunday: Lamborn Farm's Fall Festival

I simply can't believe it's almost October. Maybe it's because we are still experiencing more sweat-soaked days than breezy, cool ones. Or perhaps it's because I blinked and we almost missed apple-picking season. (We did manage to score 1/2 bushel at Cider Hill last weekend but they ran out of cider doughnuts and cider slushies so I still feel my autumn is somewhat incomplete.) Regardless, fall is right around the corner so let the festivities begin!

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!
I had the chance to chat with the farm's owner, Joseph Lamborn, about the festival on Sunday, as well as other events they host on their 138-year old farm. You may remember him from PAIR Day. He was set up in one of the tents right across from the Harney Gym bubble. If you don't remember much from PAIR Day, that's also understandable. I felt like it was my wedding, the birth of my child and all 4 PCS's squeezed into the same day. And I walked out with enough paper to reforest the Amazon. But one of them was his brochure about the farm's fall festival. I jotted down the date in my planner and then promptly forgot about it. Until this week.

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.

Unexpected charm can be found around every corner.

 And so many ways to share in good ole fashioned farm fun with your kids.

(For the record, this is a goat. I truly thought it was a sheep. Don't sheep have horns? Anyway, Mr. Lamborn's goats are sheared regularly by a lady who knits sweaters from the goat hair. Jackie and I have made it our mission this year to own a goat hair sweater by the time we leave Kansas. For real.)

Mr. Lamborn and his daughter (because this truly is a family owned and operated farm) were unloading the newest addition to the inventory while I was there.
There are several of these face cut-out, farm-themed stand-ups (almost all painted by a local artist) and I love every single one of them. Although my toddler isn't quite as amused, some of my favorite pictures involve our faces behind plywood.

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.
And the top level houses the reception area, complete with tables, chairs and the perfect amount of white Christmas lights.

This Kentucky girl thinks no gathering on the farm (or, uh, anywhere) is complete without at least one bourbon barrel. They have two.

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.

It's tempting to dig out that dress and do it all over again!

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:

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
                                                            Adults $7.50 

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.


  1. Pulled pork? A root beer float? Those are my favorites!!! I wanna be there!!! But since I won't, thanks for the photos and the info, and have fun!

  2. This place is so charming! I love that reception area with all of the pretty twinkly lights!


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