Not terribly far from where I live is a Fall festival that is typically the kick off to our season. It’s the Algonquin Mill Festival in Carrollton, Ohio. The Algonquin Mill is seated inside an historic complex with several surrounding buildings. More about the history and the buildings can be found on their website here: http://carrollcountyhistoricalsociety.com/mill/millcomp.htm
The festival is a fun way to spend the day, and my husband and I take our children every year. They have delicious foods, fun things for children to do, and crafts and goods from local artisans! Each year we are excited to eat different comfort foods and see what the crafters have to offer. We often eat either the sauerkraut and potatoes dinner or we get some chicken and baked potatoes. We always make room for some bean soup and cornbread as well! If the kids don’t want to eat that, there are more kid-friendly options like hot dogs and french fries as well. For dessert we always get the same thing – a homemade apple dumpling with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream!
My husband and I tend to pick up Christmas ornaments every year. In part because one of my best friends is a crafter there, but also because we have an affinity for Christmas ornaments! The kids also typically pick something fun for themselves as well. The crafts range from crafts to handmade soaps, leather goods, holiday crafts, local honey, and so much more. One year I bought a CD from a band that was there. I bought their Christmas music CD and it’s amazing!
This year my kids had fun with several different things. They got their faces painted, which was only $2 each – fairly cheap for facepainting in my experience! And they both loved it so, so much. When it came off that night in the tub, they really wanted me to paint them back on. Max chose a spider for Halloween, but Bennett went with sparkly balloons.
Typically we go to a little pumpkin patch for pictures and so that the kids can pick out a little pumpkin. This year we ran out of time, unfortunately, and weren’t able to do that. We also missed out on creating sand art. However, we made it in time to see the animals! There were chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, bunnies, and – my favorite – the alpacas!
We also allowed the kids to take their first pony ride this year! At first I was concerned about the welfare of the horses, but after talking to their owner I realized that they are happy farm horses who only do this on occasion. He said they seem to enjoy the attention, and that if they didn’t like doing it, they would flat out refuse to move. The kids LOVED riding the ponies, and it was definitely worth the money. At first I balked at the $5 cost per ride, but the ride actually went on for several minutes, and the kids truly loved it.
Towards the end of the day we stop to have our apple dumplings, and then I head into the little bookstore that’s onsite. It’s a tiny house filled with wall to wall used books. I could spend all day in there, but since my husband and children have little interest, I typically pop in and search out some old Reader’s Digest books. They are one of the things that I collect. They cost fifty cents each, which I think is pretty good. Once that was done this year we stopped for a quick family picture before heading home. This is one of my favorite Fall activities. It’s fun for the whole family and, if you’re in the area, I highly recommend it!