The Lacombe area was bustling with movement during Alberta Open Farm Days last weekend.
Between the two museums and local businesses, there were a variety of activities and experiences to reinvigorate the annual event which began in 2013. This year, craft beer was the highlight with six Alberta breweries taking part.
“We have opted to work with local companies and community members on creating an event that will showcase homesteader life in the prairies,” said Melissa Blunden, executive director of the Lacombe and District Historical Society.
The event has contributed nearly $650,000 in on-farm sales since it began, boosting economic activity in the communities that participate. In the Lacombe area, Blindman Brewing, Buit Dairies Ltd., Doornenbal Dairy Ltd., Flying Cross Ranch and Hidden Valley Garden U-Pick opened up their facilities to the public.
Culinary excellence was celebrated this year with a menu of homesteader-inspired dishes at the Michener House Museum. The Lacombe and District Historical Society worked with Open Farm Days Culinary Tour to make the “Taste of the Past” menu which had baked items from Oodles of Chocolate, Morrison House, Beet Top Cafe and Healthfitters.
Between the two museums, demos and tours ran both days at the Michener House Museum and Lacombe Blacksmith Shop Museum. The blacksmith shop also hosted its annual hammer-in, which featured nine central Albertan blacksmiths, six forges, a foundry and Lacombe’s own ferrier.
The Lacombe and District Historical Society has participated in the event for the past few years and was nominated for a Sustainability Leadership Award. Blunden said that they “see this as an opportunity to bring Albertans together.”
Province-wide, the event has seen 484 farms participate and nearly 82,000 visitors, according to a press releases by the Alberta government.
“Our museums are very special as they are still on their original locations, showing how life in Lacombe evolved and built up around them over the years. The Lacombe museums’ offer a unique opportunity to experience homesteading life in Alberta, right in your own backyard,” Blunden said.