The changing seasons bring an annual fall family tradition to Woodbury, every October--- the Autumn Festival at Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust, to be held October 13 from 11 am to 3 pm at the Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary, corner of Flanders and Church Hill Roads.
Organizers of this year’s event note that it will be bigger and better, with more activities than ever before, to celebrate the regional land trust’s 50th anniversary. Flanders was founded in 1963 by artist, environmentalist and farmer Natalie Van Vleck on her family’s 200-acre farm. Today, the organization protects more than 2,000 acres of open space in the towns of Woodbury, Southbury, Bethlehem and Middlebury and provides environmental education programs that connect science, nature, agriculture and art for all ages.
The event combines a variety of entertainment, activities, demonstrations, vendors, food and more. Well-known entertainers Sirius Coyote will provide the music for listening or dancing. Multi-talented musicians, storytellers and ethnic-origin instrument-makers, the group will perform a musical journey through the Americas. Their vocals are complemented by log drums, ocarinas, berimbau and mbira, accentuated by guitar, saxophone, electric bass and keyboard. Other entertainment includes a “Curious Creatures” program, cart pulling by the Newfoundland Club of New England, hay rides on Harold, the big green tractor and an apple press demonstration with a taste of cider. Also, there will be hikes along Flanders’ Botany Trail, led by members of the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club and an informational display with facts about the Pomperaug River watershed. Children will be entertained with games, crafts and nature stories.
A new feature at this years’ Autumn Festival is “A Taste of Pumpkins.” Festival-goers will have the chance to sample a variety of pumpkin-based foods, home made by Flanders’ members and friends. Arts and crafts and food vendors add to the day’s fun.
To celebrate Flanders’ 50th Anniversary, a 50 Years Tug-of-War is planned. One team will be comprised of those associated with Flanders during the past 50 years and the other made up of members, friends and staff from the present day through the next 50 years. In addition, there will be samples of Flanders’ 50th birthday cake, tours of the new South Farm Welcome Center and a roving photographer shooting “Faces of Flanders,” which will be posted on Flanders’ Facebook page.
As a special incentive for the 50th Anniversary, Flanders will have a membership booth at the gate to the Autumn Festival. Families can sign up to become members for only $50 and receive two free tickets to the festival.
Admission to the 50th Anniversary Autumn Festival is $5 per person and $20 for groups of four or more for Flanders’ members. Nonmember’s price is $10 per person. Flanders’ Autumn Festival is sponsored by LaBonne’s, Stop & Shop, Flour Garden, Ovens of France, Popey’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Averill Farm and Hayward Farm.
For more information, call (203) 263-03711 or visit www.flandersnaturecenter.org,