Fish Family Farm Day draws thousands of visitors
By Brenda Sullivan - ReminderNews
Bolton - posted Wed., Sep. 4, 2013
Despite grey skies and even a short burst of rain, Farm Day 2013 on Labor Day weekend at the Fish Family Farm in Bolton was as popular as ever.
Thousands of visitors converged on the farm from across the station Aug. 31 to enjoy live music, games, famous Shady Glen burgers and other tasty treats, tours of the dairy barn and a chance to visit with all kinds of farm animals.
The farm was also dotted with dozens of white tents, where vendors could be found selling products.
While bands such as Cold Chocolate performed bluegrass tunes, volunteers got drenched in the dunk tank, families took tours of the farm via hay wagon, and everyone enjoyed the free ice cream made from the Fish Family Farm’s own Jersey cows.
This annual event – made possible by the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, and the support of more than 40 businesses and civic groups, as well as the town of Bolton – is a major fundraiser for the Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester (http://www.lutzmuseum.org). In addition to a collection of natural history-themed exhibits and a nature center, the museum sponsors classes, concerts, trips and a variety of programs for children and families.
At the dunk tank, 11-year-old Dillon welcomed the times someone’s aim with a baseball would drop him into the cool water. His whole family was drafted by his mother Karyn Dillon, who works at the Lutz Museum, to help with activities at the event.
Over at a farm machinery display, friends Ryan Corriveau and Jaden Schroeder, both from Manchester, enjoyed sitting in the driver’s seat of two 6-foot-high tractors.
While there were plenty of activities for the children – including a bungee jump and a tie-dye T-shirt station – the most popular spots on the farm were the animal displays. One of the busiest of those was the alpaca pen, where three mothers and their 4-month-old little ones patiently allowed visitors to pat the fuzzy “top knot” of their heads and feed them hay.
These Huacaya alpacas were raised by Tracy Longoria and D.J. Lupacchino, whose Aussakita Acres Farm is also an educational facility where visitors can learn about goats, pigs, horses, ducks, alpacas and llamas. (For more information, call 860-643-0504.)
“Events like this one are a great opportunity to educate people about farm animals,” Longoria said. “They’ll say, ‘Look at the beautiful llamas,’ but llamas are pack animals and usually are about twice the size of alpacas – and alpacas are fiber animals.”
Next to the pen, a booth displayed several different products made from alpaca wool. Longoria explained that when they shear their animals in the spring, the wool is sent to the New England Fiber Pool where it is “banked” and sent out for processing. When farmers order products, such as hats and socks, the order is deducted from their banked wool.
Children also got to pet a spotted creature peacefully sharing space in the alpaca pen: a rare Kunekune pig originally bred in New Zealand. (The name means "fat and round" in the Māori language.)
Fifteen-week-old “Bentley,” the children learned, is a pasture pig – versus a rooting pig – with a short and upturned snout that sets him apart from the more familiar farm pig. And when fully grown, he will weigh only about 200 pounds, which is about 550 pounds less than other kinds of farm pigs.
The Fish Family Farm, located at 20 Dimock Lane in Bolton, is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the website http://www.fishfamilyfarm.com.