WOODSTOCK, VERMONT… As the sun rises over the bucolic vista of Billings Farm & Museum, teamsters from Vermont and beyond will convene for the excitement of Draft Animal Day on May 8, 10AM – 5PM. In celebration of Mother’s Day, mothers receive free admission.
In days past, draft animals used to till fields, pull wagons, and do heavy lifting on the farm. With a nod to historical practices, the event will be packed full of demonstrations and activities involving draft horses, oxen, and steers. Guests can get up close and personal with draft horses as Phil Warren gives a detailed demonstration on how to harness a team. In the fields, there will be teams of oxen and horses pulling an array of plows and guests can even try their hand at driving the plow. Local 4-H Clubs will lead ox cart and teams pulling a stone boat through an obstacle course. A Parade of Oxen and Working Steers will thrill guests in the bleachers at 3:30PM. As teams walk through the paddock, an announcer will regale the crowd with fascinating details about each team.
Leatherworker Mark Humpal will be making handcrafted leather creations, demonstrating harness repair, and selling his wares on site. New England Ox Supply will have yolks and equipment on display and for sale. An array of historic farm equipment used for plowing and haying will be on view along the path to the Draft Animal Barn.
Children can earn a ribbon in the Hobby Horse Barrel Racing or make wearable art with a Huck’s Ears headband. Families can follow the StoryWalk as page by page, the story of Huck’s Way Home, written and illustrated by local author Kristina Rodanas, unfolds on signs along the pasture fence. Children can listen to stories in the Billings Story Corner. Historic farm recipes including Shoofly Pie, a molasses and spice pie and Switchel, a rejuvenating, electrolyte replenishing historic drink will be presented throughout the day in the 1890 Farm Manager’s House.
The TRAILBREAK Taps + Tacos Food Truck will be on site from 11AM – 4PM serving tacos, street corn, chips and salsa, and Jarritos Mexican sodas. Guests can also enjoy the beer garden featuring draft beer and margaritas.
The Farmhouse Café, open 11AM – 5PM, will have delicious Vermont-made ice cream, Billings Farm cheeses, plus snacks and drinks for purchase.
The Billings Farm Volunteer Program is a way to make meaningful connection with the Billings community. Volunteers make new friends, share their enthusiasm for farming, rural life, and history, and learn new skills. There are a range of positions and timeslots available during Draft Animal Day. Volunteers will greet guests, facilitate crafts, read stories, give out Billings Farm Cheese samples or assist with parking. For more information and to get involved, please visit billingsfarm.org/volunteer/.