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updated: 10/4/2012 2:43 PM

Harvest festivals offer a glimpse into the past

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  • Storyteller Reid Miller of Stoughton, Wis., entertains children during Garfield Farm Museum's annual Harvest Days.

    Storyteller Reid Miller of Stoughton, Wis., entertains children during Garfield Farm Museum's annual Harvest Days.
    Daily Herald File Photo

Daily Herald staff reports

Last weekend, the night sky was dominated by the Harvest Moon.

This weekend, two area harvest festivals will pay tribute to the historical significance of this time of year -- when farmers reap the rewards of their efforts, and communities gather to celebrate the bounty.

Both the McHenry County Historical Society's Cider Fest and Garfield Farm Museum's Harvest Days offer a chance to get in touch with the agricultural roots of Kane and McHenry counties.

Cider Fest

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7

McHenry County Historical Society Museum, 6422 Main St., Union

Info: (815) 923-2267 or

The 35th annual Cider Fest will feature entertainment by "Charlie B. and Friends" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This year, the festival features displays and demonstrations of old tools, courtesy of independent collectors and from members of the Midwest Tool collectors Association.

Visitors can watch a barn raising beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Throughout the day Huntley Ambassador Girl Scout Sarah French will host an interactive children's workshop to accompany her exhibit "Girls and Women: Then and Now." The workshop offers interactive elements that enable visitors to experience firsthand what rural life was like for women and young girls in 20th century McHenry County.

Throughout the day, there will be harvest demonstrations, including broom making and old-fashioned cider making. An apple goodies bakery, kettle corn, book, antique clothing, and white elephant sale and food will be available.

The museum, the Gannon 1843 log cabin and 1895 West Harmony one-room school, are open free all day.

Harvest Days

11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7

Garfield Farm Museum, on Garfield Road, just north of Route 38 between Geneva and Elburn

Info: Call (630) 584-8485 or visit

Harvest Days at Garfield Farm Museum will celebrate both the traditional harvest of the land and the bounty from hard work by generous museum volunteers and donors in 2012.

The 1906 dairy barn is the last building of the six large buildings at the museum to have its roof restored. Another big accomplishment: in September, Garfield Farm Museum went "green" with the installation of a geothermal system to cool and heat the 166-year-old brick inn. Now hidden in the basements, the compressors and air handlers create heat or cool by using the near constant 55 degree water circulated through six 300-foot long loops, 10 feet below ground. The system will be explained during the Harvest Days.

A harvest of labor and good deeds will continue into the fall as the last seven Eagle Scout projects for 2012 will be completed. Visitors can witness this progress and share the discovery of how America was built by our first settlers. Tours of the 1846 inn, up close meetings with the farm's oxen and other historic breeds can be topped of with laughter and music as Reid Miller entertains with his tall tales. Inglenook Pantry will have lunch and refreshments available and the museum's volunteer bakers will offer baked goods in the Farmers market.

Most notable is the offering of an ongoing archaeological investigation that visitors can see up close.

Suggested donation for Harvest Days admission is $6, $3 for children 12 and younger.

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