Northwest NEWS

August 21, 2000


Big barn on the prairie

Harvest Home Festival

Lila and David Chapman are busy planning the Harvest Home Festival to take place Sept. 30.
Photo courtesy of the Chapmans.

by Bronwyn Wilson

   It was an idyllic childhood on the farm. Remember? You lived in a big clapboard house, and before the sun cast morning light on the cornfields, you milked Bossy. You frolicked with the chickens and sheep. Grandma cooked all week long, and taught you how to make butter.

   On Sunday, you went to church, and afterward, you'd get together with relatives. Grandpa regaled everyone with captivating stories out on the front porch. Grandma took you to town in the old International truck, and you helped pick out the grain, because the feed sack material would be what Grandma made your clothes out of. And when the clothes were worn out, they'd be cut up and made into crazy quilts.

   You slid down haystacks, skipped rocks at the fishing hole, and kicked up your heels at the barn dances where Grandma pounded out happy tunes on the piano in the hayloft. And the best part: you drove a Jeep at age 11.

   What's that? You don't remember! Well, you're not alone. There are many who don't.

   But Woodinville resident Lila Chapman does. She grew up on a farm and lived every single magical moment. Chapman plans, along with a host of others, to bring a slice of her idyllic childhood to Woodinville in a fun-filled farm festival.

   Planned for Sept. 30th through Oct. 8th, the Harvest Home Festival will be an opportunity to take a time trip back to the days when the words "come in and set a spell" were as common as green paint on a John Deere.

   Held at the site of the Red Barn Country Inn at 16560 140th Place NE, the festival will have the perfect country setting. Built in 1939, the big red barn was converted to a home in 1965 and is now a bed-and-breakfast, owned and operated by Chapman and her husband, David.

   The property is full of life and color, with hydrangea profuse with purplish blooms, kittens playing with chickens, and dogs greeting newcomers with friendly dog kisses. The sheep in the pasture are a show unto themselves. When David Chapman calls, "Here, girls," the affectionate woolly foursome charges in a perfect flanked line up to the fence to say hello.

   Coincidentally, the festival will kick-off on National Wool Week and the Chapman's sheep will make the ideal visual aid for the festival's spinning demonstration, which will show how to clean, card, and spin.

   But this is just one demonstration--loads more are in the works, with candlemaking, blacksmithing, and food preserving, to name a few. Plus, there will be bake-off contests, tractor barrel rides, and displays of colorful quilts. Bread and butter making, banjo strumming, corn shucking, and dogs herding will add to the fun.

   Vintage tractors will showcase the farm machine that had a profound effect on American agriculture. Dramatic storyteller Debbie Dimitre will spin historic tales of farming communities and Seattle pioneers. An edible flower garden will be available for sampling. A sit-down tea with a time tunnel fashion show is planned for Sunday, Oct. 8.

   Barn dances on Friday and Saturday nights will have festivalgoers "swinging from the rafters" with music by a group who calls themselves "Jump Up!"

   "It's swing, the oldies, jump blues," Chapman said. "It's lively, they really get into it."

   But what's a farm festival without scarecrows, hay bales, and giant sunflowers? Not to worry. A straw bale maze will amuse children 6-11 years old. Children, 12 years and up, will have a sunflower maze to get lost in.

   The design of the maze was taken from a children's coloring book and laid out on Chapman's property. The Russian Mammoth and Giant Sunflowers, which make up the maze, are only five inches high now, but by late September, their bright yellow faces could be as high as twelve feet.

   And when moms, dads and kids are "tuckered out" from losing each other in tall sunflowers, they can proceed to the scarecrow making contest. A tent with old clothes and straw will be available to anyone who wants to make a scarecrow. Classes will show how to build a proper scarecrow. And when completed, proper and not-so-proper scarecrows will be placed on exhibit. People are invited to vote for their favorite, and in support of Hooterville Pets Safehaus, everyone is asked to pay 25 cents along with their vote.

   Also, funds from the costume and quilt auction, as well as a portion of the admission charge, will go to Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center.

   "The festival started with talking to friends and saying 'this is something we feel is really important,'" Chapman said. "At my age, I'm realizing how valuable my memories are. I can't be a grandmother to everyone, but I can bring young people here to see it," she added.

   Committed to the event are many farm people and artisans, including the Woodinville Historical Society and Sky Valley Tractor Club of Monroe. But more volunteers are needed, especially quilting exhibitors and an auctioneer.

   "Anyone who has a skill and would love to share it, we welcome them with open arms," Chapman said. She hopes to host groups, such as school students, 4-H Clubs, Scouts.

   Parking will be off-site and there will be a shuttle to the festival. Entrance fee is $5, under 10 free. The Friday Barn Bash is $10 per person. The Saturday "Swing from the Rafters" dance is $35 per person. The Afternoon Tea on Sunday is $17 for adults and $12.50 for those under 10. For further information, call 1-888-400-BARN.