‘Autumn on the Farms’ at Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin’s annual “Autumn on the Farms” invites visitors to help out with the seasonal tasks of days gone by.
Old World Wisconsin’s annual “Autumn on the Farms” invites visitors to help out with the seasonal tasks of days gone by.

Guests can help with 19th- and early 20th-century harvest and seasonal activities

Old World Wisconsin’s farmsteads will be bustling with 19th- and early 20th-century harvest activities during “Autumn on the Farms,” Thursdays through Sundays, Sept. 4 through Oct. 31.

Guests can help farmers with many seasonal tasks as they bring in the crops and fill the larders. Fields will be plowed using horse power, gas- and steam-powered engines will help make farm chores easier, the wood-burning stoves will be fired up, produce and meat will be preserved many different ways, and the historic site’s many farmsteads will be readied for winter. All of these tasks will be done using the same techniques and tools that the original immigrants to Wisconsin would have used.

“This is one of our most popular events. As much of ‘Autumn on the Farms’ is harvest related, we’ll be doing lots of cooking, baking and butchering,” said Jennifer Van Haaften, associate director, programs and historical resources. “We had to chuckle that our 19th-century way of addressing food is back in fashion: many of the foods we grow and the way we grow and prepare them at Old World Wisconsin match the same trends at the top of the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 trend list. These include using locally sourced meats and locally grown produce, an emphasis on environmental sustainability and nose-to-tail and root-to-stalk cooking. These were things 19th-century settlers did out of necessity and we’ll be showcasing them during ‘Autumn on the Farms.’”

Old World Wisconsin has expanded the scope of the event, and added complementary activities during the eight differently themed weekends; these include men’s and women’s vintage baseball during “Toys and Games,” a weekend dedicated to historic food sampling during “Fall Tastes,” and the historic site will even host an actual 1890s Pomeranian wedding, where the bride and groom will get married in a legal ceremony, on Sept. 6.

Old World Wisconsin will also partner with the Wisconsin Science Festival Oct. 18-19 and showcase many labor-saving, 19th-century devices during “Everything but the Squeal” weekend.

Each “Autumn on the Farms” weekend has a different theme:

• Sept. 6-7 – Old World Wedding (includes actual wedding Saturday)

• Sept. 13-14 – Toys and Games (including vintage baseball each day)

• Sept. 20-21 – Harvest Chores

• Sept. 27-28 – Fall Tastes

• Oct. 4-5 – Preparing for Winter

• Oct. 11-12 – Preserving the Bounty

• Oct. 18-19 – Everything but the Squeal (includes “Pioneer Power,” as part of the Wisconsin Science Festival)

• Oct. 25-26 – Meat Four Different Ways

Old World Wisconsin, W372 S9727 Highway 67, Eagle, is open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 4 through Oct. 31 during “Autumn on the Farms” except for Oct. 11, 18, 25 and 31, when the site closes at 4 pm to prepare for “Halloween Legends and Lore.”

For more information visit, www.oldworldwisconsin.org or by calling 262-594-6301.

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