SHAVERTOWN — Cradling a cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream in one hand, 8-year-old Isabella Roback of Shavertown stroked the dark brown furry head of a calf with the other at The Lands at Hillside Farms on Saturday afternoon. Led around by young volunteers, “Fawna,” the 5-month-old calf, seemed to enjoy the attention.
Joined by her uncle, Patrick Son, his fiancée, Tracy Clothier, and their 2-year-old daughter, Sadie, all of Harveys Lake, Roback was in a hurry to visit the rest of the barnyard animals during the farm’s fifth annual Fall Festival.
The summer-like weather on the first day of the two-day event made the activities even more enjoyable, as hundreds of people strolled the scenic grounds, enjoying Hillside’s ice cream in seasonal flavors such as pumpkin and caramel apple. The event offered hayrides, children’s games, a bouncy house, barn tours, woodworking demonstrations, vendors, live entertainment and plenty of food.
“We have been blessed to have this weather,” said Suzanne Kelly, Hillside’s director of development and marketing. “It’s so wonderful to see so many families here.”
Event organizers expect about 4,500 visitors during the weekend festival, said Kelly, adding that proceeds from the event help to fund the farm’s many educational programs. “This is a 412-acre outdoor classroom,” she said.
Looking like something out of a 1950’s science-fiction movie, “The Bag Monster” lurked around the grounds, scaring up environmental awareness. Covered head to toe with 500 plastic shopping bags (the amount each shopper typically uses in only one year), the “monster” posed for snapshots with visitors while encouraging the use of cloth shopping bags.
Kelly said the farm offers a wealth of valuable lessons in sustainable and healthy living: from the wooden posts — which are made from locust trees around the farm, and are resistant to bugs and never have to be sprayed — to the rain gardens, reusable glass milk bottles and antibiotic-free cows.
“We really consider (Hillside) to be a jewel in this region,” she said.