Prairie Fest offers window into the past

  • Wagon rides through the prairie and savanna are popular at Campton Township's Prairie Fest, now entering its ninth year at the Corron Farm. This year's fest is from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

    Wagon rides through the prairie and savanna are popular at Campton Township's Prairie Fest, now entering its ninth year at the Corron Farm. This year's fest is from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Photo courtesy of Campton Township

  • The Corron Farm, purchased by Campton Township in 2003, is the site of the township's ninth annual Prairie Fest Saturday, Sept. 26. Organizers are hopeful $100,000 will help restore a 1875 dairy barn on the site within the next couple years.

    The Corron Farm, purchased by Campton Township in 2003, is the site of the township's ninth annual Prairie Fest Saturday, Sept. 26. Organizers are hopeful $100,000 will help restore a 1875 dairy barn on the site within the next couple years. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Posted9/22/2015 1:56 PM

The ninth annual Campton Township Prairie Fest on Saturday, Sept. 26, will feature old standards such as wagon rides through the prairie and tours of the historic Corron Family home, but it also will have some new twists such as square dancers and historic letters.

It also could be the last time a dilapidated, yet historic, dairy barn at the farm will be seen with a blue tarp on its roof during the annual festival.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're excited. We'll have $100,000 to at least get going," said Laurel Garza, a Campton Township open space volunteer and board member of the Corron Farm Preservation Society. "Getting the grant is a huge shot in the arm for us."

The preservation society wants to restore a dairy barn so it can be a living history display for old and antique farming equipment, plows, carriages, tools and other items. The barn, the main section of which was built in 1875, needs a new roof, foundation work and its walls straightened, Garza said.

Campton Township and the preservation society applied for a $50,000 grant from Kane County's riverboat casino fund, in which the two groups would each contribute $25,000 to match the money from the county.

The county awarded $39,896 on the condition that the two groups kick in not only their $50,000, but $10,104 to make an even $100,000.

"Having this grant from the county helps us get more grants from other organizations," said Garza. "We may not be able to get everything done for $100,000. Every little bit helps."

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Garza said the exact scale and scope of the restoration has yet to be decided, but hopefully some work can begin this fall and the entire project hopefully completed within two years.

As in past fests, tours of the 1850s brick Greek Revival Corron House, built by Robert Corron, one of Campton Township's earliest settlers, will be offered. Another new feature this year will be specially-preserved displays of letters from the Civil War, Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and more at the Corron Home.

One letter includes correspondence from the Chicago Fire Department's Recording Secretary to his cousin, a Corron, after the devastating fire.

The event, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. at 7N761 Corron Road in Campton Township, also will include scavenger hunts, live music, a raffle, food and craft vendors.

New additions are a square dancing group and a Laura Ingalls Wilder historian, who will show the connections her family had to the area, and a dedication of a 1835 flag, which marks the year Robert Corron came to the area, Garza said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Most of all, Garza said, the event is good, family fun that offers something for everyone.

"It's a family thing for the kids. We always have something for the kids to do," Garza said. "The kids love feeding the goats. I think people enjoy coming in and touring the (Corron) house. The wagon tour in the prairie is always a big hit."

The event will be held rain or shine. Admission is free. For information, visit the preservation society's website.

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