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Welcoming the fall season with Harvest Fest

by Kari Ashworth - News Editor
Tue, Sep 24th 2019 11:10 pm

The Sweden Farmers Museum held its third annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21. The event is a way to bring the community together, as well as a way to showcase the history of the museum. 

The museum began about 15 years ago after the town acquired the cemetery. The buildings that would become the museum were part of that property, according to Don Grentzinger, member of the Sweden Farmers Museum Committee.

“When it first started, the town took over the cemetery, so the house and barn were empty,” Grentzinger said. “They had three options: sell the house, rent the house and somebody said — well, Danielle Windus-Cook was on the town board then — she said ‘let’s make it a Farmers Museum,’ so that’s what we got.”

Another member of the committee, Marie Bell, gave tours of the restored museum throughout the day. She has been a volunteer with the museum since its start in 2004.

“I’m one of the four people who did all of the work in this house, starting with the pulling up of the front porch that was enclosed. One of the last projects we did was moving the kitchen,” Belle said. 

According to Grentzinger, the barn was ready to fall over before they “resurrected” it. Now, it houses artifacts as well as supplies for the cemetery.

During the festival, the barn had multiple demonstrations. Marion Dilger demonstrated switchel samples as well as spinning and kitchen antiques, Al Cretney showcased bird carving and Mary Eunice Weinkauf provided a quilting lesson. Outside the barn was a bean planter and a corn sheller on display while a corn pit was also set up for children to play in. 

Apart from the museum tour and barn demonstrations, there were multiple vendors set up, as well as the Brockport Lions Club selling lunch, wagon tours and other displays and demonstrations on the lawn, such as chainsaw carving. “She Sings” also entertained the crowd from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

One of the vendors the Sweden Senior Association Inc. (SSAI), was selling baked goods. President Betty Coopenberg said this was the association’s second year at the event, and they have seen an increase in sales. 

“We didn’t do a heck of a lot last year, but it was our first year here,” Coopenberg said. “So after they [got] to know us, they have come back so a lot of [people] buy their stuff for either lunch, dessert or breakfast. We get a lot of vendors buying.” 

Typically the group sells its baked goods at the Sweden/ Clarkson Community Center. The SSAI has a number of programs and proceeds of the baked goods go toward making quilts to be donated to different hospitals. 

Another vendor at the festival was Marsala Family Farm. Coryanne and Bob Marsala were selling honey, flowers and duck eggs among other things. 

“It’s pretty good,” Bob said. “Hasn’t been a lot of traffic, but people seem to be buying stuff. A lot of garlic, a lot of onions, a couple of flowers.”

Along with the tours, the “Kiss the Cow” contest was popular. Four local leaders were raising money for a charity of the winner’s choice and the Sweden Farmers Museum. Village of Brockport Mayor Margaret Blackman, Village Historian Bill Andrews, Monroe County Young Republican Chairman Jack Merritt and Sweden Town Board Councilperson Lori Skoog were the candidates in the running. 

“Their money goes to their favorite charity,” Grentzinger said. “The rest of the money goes to the museum for whatever we need to have done, and it’s the first time I know of that contest, so to speak, is being held in Brockport for sure, and [it] is generating a lot of interest.”

Jack Merritt ultimately won the opportunity to kiss the cow. Proceeds from his donations will go to the Rochester Food Shelf.

The Sweden Farmers Museum is always looking for volunteers to help out with its events. The museum is open to the public on Sundays in July and August from 1 to 3 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, you can call the Sweden Clarkson Recreation Department at 585-431-0090. 

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