FarmFest kicks off homestead appreciation events

As an unofficial start to the Centre County Local Foods Week, the second annual Pennsylvania Organic FarmFest returns to the Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall this weekend starting early Aug. 2.

The festival attracted more than 2,000 people at last year’s debut. The event will feature educational workshops, live music, food and craft vendors, exhibitors and plenty of children activities.

This year, FarmFest boasts an expanded musical lineup to span over separate stages featuring music from throughout Pennsylvania and several Happy Valley regulars.

“After a really successful first year, we added a number of events and music stages to create an even bigger festival with more activities for the whole family,” festival organizer Erin McCracken said. “I’m especially happy to showcase some of our best local talents.”

The Lady Moon Farms Grandstand stage will feature such acts as the acclaimed Ted McCloskey and the HiFi’s. They have a large a large discography already, and their music has been featured on various TV shows on MTV, NBC and AMC.

Mountain Minstrelsy, a music project from Marah that has been well-received throughout the state. The and this project is said to have stemmed from discovery of an old song book called “Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania” featuring a collection of lyrics as sung in the backwoods settlements, hunting camps and lumber camps between 1840–1923.

For those looking to become better educated about farm and sustainability, FarmFest will host several speakers and workshops.

The festival also will feature a slew of family friendly events and activities, including the 5K Race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk around the fairgrounds. Participators are encouraged to register in advance. Runners and walkers can register at the FarmFest 5K website at http://farmfest.paorganic.org/5k/ or call Kathryn at 422-0251 for more information.

The kiddies can explore the petting zoo, sing along with live music at the Organic Kids Stage with artists like Gary Gyekis and the Three Kitties, Robot Mouth and Pennsylvania Alleycats. New to this year’s activities is the Kids’ Triangle, which will feature face painting and various other craft activities. Children of all ages are more than welcome to participate in the FarmFest Kids Parade, which will close things off starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 3.

Also featured this year is a Homemade and Homegrown Market, highlighting local vendors, and an exhibit hall featuring workshops, a dairy farm field day and more.

Camping will be available for festivalgoers, and festival organizers encourage patrons to bring their bicycles bikes as a way of transportation throughout the campgrounds.

The festival will introduce Centre County Local Foods Week, which will feature:

• Bike Fresh bicycle ride,

• a “Dine Fresh, Dine Local” foodie event at Harrison’s Wine Grill,

• the Golden Basket Chef Competition at the Boalsburg Farmers Market,

• the second annual Local Harvest Dinner at Dantes restaurants,

• and the eighth annual Farm Tour (see page C2 on Aug. 3 for a tour map and more information).