A Festival of Crafts, Activities, Music, Food & Family Fun
Homestead Heritage and The Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture will host the 27th annual Homestead Fair on Thanksgiving weekend, November 28-30 at Homestead Craft Village in central Texas. This 3-day exposition is a fun, educational festival with activities for the entire family that draws an attendance over 12,000 people a year.
“At this year’s Fair we’ve greatly expanded our popular seminar offerings – we’ve got over 36 hours of seminars alone! In addition, there are 32 Make-Your-Own activities, dozens of items on the food court menu, continuous craft and skills demonstrations, a 2-day timber-frame barn raising, live music each day, thousands of hand-crafted items for sale and so much more,” said Fair director Josiah Wheeler. “Our Fair is not just an event, it really is an experience!” Allow at least 2 days to see it all.
This Year’s Feature – New Aquaponics Greenhouse and Ecosystem
The upcoming 2014 Fair will feature a new, unique aquaponics greenhouse. Currently under construction, this 30′ x 88’ high-tunnel greenhouse will contain a balanced, all natural ecosystem for growing plants using fish water.
“What we’re doing is a hybrid of aquaponics and traditional soil gardening,” aquaponics gardener Tim Tittley told us as we watched workers layer the rock and soil in the wicking beds. “It’s a symbiotic relationship that mutually benefits both the plants and the fish. The water from the fish pond circulates through rocks on the bottom of grow beds. A layer of wicking fabric lies on top of the rocks, wicking an abundance of water upward into the soil, bringing with it a continual supply of nutrients – mainly nitrogen. The plants in turn filter the water so that when it returns to the fish tank, the fish have clean water.”
For the Fair, greenhouse plants will include carrots, bunching onions, cucumbers, herbs, cabbage, leaf lettuce, tomatoes and more, started from non-hybrid, open-pollinated seed. The 4,000 gallon tank will be used to raise edible fish – potentially Tilapia or Blue Gill. The system will also contain a built-in 3-tiered system for growing live duckweed for use as fish food.
Check the blog on www.HomesteadFair.com to follow the development of this ecosystem, which will play a key part in producing fresh foods year-round for the nearby cafe and the soon-to-open Homestead Market.
Annual Fair Favorites
• Make-Your-Own Activities
Try your hand at over 30 Make-Your-Own activities – for children and adults alike. Dip a beeswax candle, make a toy wooden boat, hammer a bronze spoon, weave a basket, shell popcorn, make fresh butter, pull some old-fashioned taffy and more. See the activities listing and discount coupon information online.
• Live Music
There will be children’s choirs, gospel songs, bluegrass music and more in the Music Tent each afternoon, as well as concerts by the Heritage Choir and Orchestra on Friday and Saturday evenings.
• Fabulous Fair Food
The food courts and fairground kiosks serve an assortment of multicultural foods. New for 2014 is beef brisket barbecue. Every item on the menu is custom-prepared especially for the Fair using wholesome ingredients. Favorites include natural beef burgers, shish kabobs, Mexican tamales, falafels, brick oven pizza, corn dogs, sweet potato fries, funnel cakes, fresh-cranked ice cream, lattes, kettle corn and hot apple cider. The full menu is online.
• Timber-Frame Barn Raising & Auction
On Friday and Saturday, Fair-goers can help raise the wall beams of an eighteenth-century barn. On Saturday, there will be a sealed-bid timber frame auction. For a description of this year’s auction frames see “Activities” online.
• Daily Seminars on Sustainable Living – Every Hour on the Hour
These 30-40 minute presentations followed by a Q&A session will range in topic from Sustainable Gardening, Backyard Chickens, Beekeeping, Seed Saving, Rainwater Catchment and Soilponics to Cheese Making, Sourdough Bread Making and more. Topics and times are listed online.
Homesteading Skills & Crafts Demonstrations
Each day dozens of homestead craft and agricultural skills demonstrations will be presented throughout the Fairgrounds – woodworking with hand tools, hand-thrown pottery, blacksmithing, casting, broom making, basket making, sewing, quilting, spinning, weaving, soap making and more.
At the Working Homestead, visitors can watch sheep shearing and goat milking, visit farm animal pens, see organic gardens, tour the aquaponics greenhouse and watch apple cider pressing.
Special Activities for Children
Kids’ activities include Make-Your-Own craft projects a hay maze, treasure hunt, farm animal pen and a mini-barn raising.
Horse-Drawn Hayrides, Surrey Rides & Carriage Rides
Hayrides, surreys and carriages will take passengers to the scenic Brazos River Valley overlook.
Holiday Gift Shopping
Hundreds of hand-crafted items will be on sale for holiday shoppers at the Craft Pavilion, craft booths, Heritage Forge Blacksmith Shop, Fiber Crafts, Homestead Gristmill and Brazos Valley Cheese.
. . . . .
No admission fee: Parking pass is good for all 3 days – $10 at the gate, $7 online in advance
Friday & Saturday Nov 28 & 29 – 9 am to 9 pm • Sunday, Nov 30 – 12 noon to 5 pm
Homestead Fair • 608 Dry Creek Road • Waco, TX 76705 • 254.754.9600