Harvest Johnny Cake Festival at Kenyon's Grist Mill - Oct. 20 & 21, 2012

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Take a step back in time and enjoy local food, samples, wine/beer, live music, old world demonstrations, mill tours, and Johnny Cakes - all at a beautiful, historic setting.

Celebrate the harvest during the annual Johnny Cake Festival at Kenyon’s Grist Mill in West Kingston, Rhode Island, on October 20th & 21st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is a collaboration of over 85 local vendors, including area farms, artisans, restaurants, and businesses. Take a step back into time at this authentic New England event and experience a unique combination of old and new.

Savor free samples of seasonal fare, beverages, sweets, snacks, and Johnny Cakes, and more. Purchase local food, such as clam cakes, chowder, lobster rolls, chicken sandwiches and burgers made with all Rhode Island ingredients, pies, bread, apples, corn-on-the cob, fudge, and over 40 other delicious items. Enjoy a variety of art, products, and gifts. Sample local wine and beer, and purchase by the glass.

Listen to live music from over twelve bands, including “Clam Cakes & Chowder” by Uncle Funk, and “Johnny Cakes” by Bill E. Payne. Watch a variety of old world demonstrations, such as blacksmithing, basket weaving, flute playing, chair caning, bowl turning, wheel and drop spinning, flax spinning and loom weaving, bucket making, woodworking, stone carving, leathersmithing, and pottery throwing. Take a tour of the gristmill, learn about the grinding process, and visit with alpacas, sheep, and goats. Learn about Rhode Island’s history and heritage, experience a colonial encampment from 1775 and 1830, and enjoy the scenery along the Queen’s River and waterfall.

In the old days, a gristmill was a center of the community. It was a meeting place where people came together to exchange ideas. Farmers would bring their grain to be ground. Merchants would bring their wares to the mill in exchange for stone ground meal. In Rhode Island and nearby states, Johnny Cake Meal, made from white corn was a regular commodity. This Rhode Island staple dates back to when the Native Americans introduced the gift of corn. The colonists learned how to make corn meal mush into a delicious, travelable food. Originally named, “Journey Cakes”, they proved to be a basic necessity, which ensured the settlers’ survival.

Today, Johnny Cakes still demonstrate the importance of partnership within our community. “By working together, we create a viable educational and economic impact,” said Paul Drumm III, owner of Kenyon’s Grist Mill. As the oldest manufacturing business in Rhode Island and the second oldest continuously operating business in the state, the Drumm family continues to hold true to the traditions and values of the past. “It is an honor to resurrect the original Johnny Cake Festival that my father, Paul Drumm, Jr., began almost forty years ago,” said Drumm. After a pause between 1986 and 2008, the festival is now on its seventieth year and continuous to grow. The event encourages families, both young and old to take a step back in time and enjoy the bounty of the season.

Admission is only $2 per person. Children 5 and under are free. Voluntary food and clothing donations will be collected for the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, a non-profit organization that assists individuals and families in need. Free parking is exclusively at the Washington County Fairgrounds, only minutes from the mill - 78 Richmond Townhouse Road in Richmond, Rhode Island. Free shuttle buses will run continuously throughout the event. For directions and more information, visit http://www.JohnnyCakeFestival.com or call 800-7-KENYON.

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