A Weekend Festival of Sustainable Living, Heritage Crafts and Family Fun at Homestead Fair

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Music, food, horse-drawn hayrides, live demonstrations, barn raising, seminars, Make-Your-Own and much more!

Sheepdog Demonstration

Sheepdog Demonstration

'We’ve greatly expanded – over 36 hours of seminars alone! There’s a huge range of activities, skill demonstrations, thousands of hand-crafted items and much more. Our Fair is not just an event, it really is an experience!' - Fair Director Josiah Wheeler

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Each Thanksgiving weekend, Homestead Craft Fair welcomes over 14,000 guests to central Texas. Preparations are well underway to accommodate visitors from all parts of the country and around the globe at the biggest Fair yet.

The 3-day annual event hosted by Homestead Heritage and The Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend is fun and educational, with activities for the entire family.

“At this year’s Fair, we’ve greatly expanded our popular seminar offerings – we’ve got over 36 hours of seminars alone! In addition, there are 32 Make-Your-Own activities, dozens of items on the food court menu, continuous craft and skills demonstrations, a two-day timber-frame barn raising, live music each day, thousands of hand-crafted items for sale and so much more,” said Fair director Josiah Wheeler. “Our Fair is not just an event, it really is an experience!”

A New Aquaponics Greenhouse

A unique 30' x 88' high-tunnel aquaponics greenhouse will be this year's feature. It will contain a balanced, all natural ecosystem.

“What we’re doing is a hybrid of aquaponics and traditional soil gardening,” gardener Tim Tittley told us as we watched workers layer the rock and soil in the wicking beds. “It’s a symbiotic relationship that mutually benefits both the plants and the fish. The water from the fish pond circulates through rocks on the bottom of grow beds. A layer of wicking fabric on top of the rocks draws water upward, bringing a continual supply of nutrients – mainly nitrogen – into the soil. The plants filter the water and it returns to the fish tank clean.”

Greenhouse plants include carrots, bunching onions, cucumbers, herbs, leaf lettuce, tomatoes and more. Tittley plans to populate the 4,000 gallon tank with edible fish. The ecosystem will play a key part in producing year-round for the nearby cafe and soon-to-open Homestead Market.

New Seminar Topics

Ploughshare Coordinator Butch Tindell has chosen several new topics for the seminar agenda this year.

"In our technically charged, globally connected age where stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provide what appears to be an endless supply and array of inexpensive food from all over the world, folks often ask us why would anyone want to raise their own food and live by the efforts of their own hands?" Tindell commented. "In 'Homesteading – An Option For Our Times?,' we will explore that question and discuss designing and establishing your own homestead."

An Introduction to Aquaponics will feature the new greenhouse and demonstrate the concept of growing plants and fish within a contained, circulating system to benefit both high-yield vegetable production and edible fish. Topics include: how aquaponics systems work, types of systems and more.

Other popular seminars discuss sustainability and educational topics such as 'Sustainable Gardening,' 'Backyard Chickens,' 'Rainwater Catchment,' 'Cheese Making,' 'Sourdough Bread Making' and one of last year's favorites, 'Creative Writing.'

Annual Fair Favorites

  • Over 30 Make-Your-Own Activities: Children and adults can dip a beeswax candle, make a toy wooden boat, hammer a bronze spoon, quilt a coaster, shell popcorn and more.
  • Live Music: There will be children’s choirs and gospel songs as well as bluegrass music in the Music Tent each afternoon, with choir/orchestra concerts in the evenings.
  • Fabulous Fair Food: Beef brisket barbecue has been added to the assortment of multicultural foods in the food courts and kiosks for 2014. Favorites include natural beef burgers, shish kabobs, Mexican tamales, falafels, brick oven pizza, sweet potato fries, funnel cakes, lattes, kettle corn and hot apple cider.
  • Timber-Frame Barn Raising and Auction: On Friday and Saturday, fair-goers can help raise the wall beams of an eighteenth-century barn and attend a sealed-bid timber frame auction.

Ongoing Activities

  • There will be dozens of craft and skills demonstrations – hand tool woodworking, pottery, blacksmithing, casting, quilting, spinning, weaving, soap making, sheep shearing, goat milking, apple cider pressing and more.
  • Activities for children include a hay maze, farm animal pen and a mini-barn raising.
  • Hayrides, surreys and carriages will run continuously during the Fair.
  • Hundreds of hand-crafted items are available for holiday shoppers at the Craft Pavilion, craft booths, blacksmith shop, fiber crafts shop, Homestead Gristmill and Brazos Valley Cheese.

What: 27th Annual Homestead Craft Fair
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov 28 & 29 – 9 am to 9 pm, Sunday Nov 30 – 12 noon to 5 pm
Where: 608 Dry Creek Road, Waco, TX 76705
Contact: HomesteadFair.com - 254.754.9600

No admission fee
Parking pass is good for all 3 days
$10 at the gate, $7 online in advance

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Josiah Wheeler

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