CULLMAN – A day of exploration, education and above all plain old fun awaited all who came to Peinhardt Living History Farm Saturday. The farm held its annual Farm Day, celebrating rural life and the agricultural industry in the 1930s and 40s. On this one day of the year, the Peinhardt Living History Farm Foundation throws the farm's gates open to the public. More than 200 volunteers brought history to life for crowds of visitors from all over north Alabama.
The event has gone on for 20 years with consistent growth. Volunteer Virginia Nail, who has worked at Farm Day since the very first event in the 1990s, noted how much bigger it has become. Of this and recent Farm Days, she noted more diverse activity offerings, more educational programs and the fact that the event offers something for visitors of every age. She also praised the eagerness of volunteers: she says she recruited folks to work the gates, and almost every person she asked accepted cheerfully.
Around 2,200 people attended the event each of the last two years, and while exact numbers were not available this afternoon, coordinators remarked that this year seemed much busier. Several mentioned that beautiful fall weather was bringing people out. Farm Day benefited from television, radio and social media advertising that reached more than 10,000 people, according to staffer Rachel Dawsey. The Lions Club coordinated parking, which extended well outside the farm site. Volunteers helped ease the burden on those parked far away with shuttle services to outlying areas.
Visitors had numerous opportunities not just to see and hear about farm life, but also to try it out. Hands-on activities abounded: kids of all ages painted pumpkins, split wood, helped carve a bread bowl, sampled fresh apple juice straight from the press, tasted sorghum syrup that was being made onsite, explored barns and cabins filled with interesting artifacts, took a hayride, watched blacksmithing and woodworking demonstrations, visited an old-time schoolhouse, fed chickens and listened to live old-time music; the list is far from complete. The first 500 kids in the gate got to build birdhouses with pre-cut materials provided by the Cullman Woodworking Guild.
The Peinhardts are among Cullman's founding families, arriving here from Germany in the 1870s. Otto Peinhardt started the family farm on its present site in 1900, and the farm operated for two generations. After the death of Carl Peinhardt (Otto's son) in 1992, the family turned the farm into a living history museum. Though it offers educational programs, it is still a working farm: this year crops of pumpkins, sweet potatoes, sorghum, field corn, cotton and greens have been produced. Dawsey expressed thankfulness for a good harvest, saying that most of the farm's crops thrived in spite of the drought. She also extended the Foundation's thanks to all the event volunteers, and to the Cullman area community for its support.
For more information about Peinhardt Farm, its programs, and to get next year's Farm Day on your calendar, visit www.peinhardtfarm.com.
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