WOODSTOCK, VERMONT… Billings Farm & Museum is gearing up for a June full of exciting events and activities for all ages. From Dairy Celebration to Father’s Day, the Quilt Exhibition to the Farmstead Garden Opening and more, inside, outside, and all around the farm, there will be something for everyone.
In celebration of one of the most American of all art forms, Billings Farm & Museum will host its 36th Annual Quilt Exhibition, June 4 – July 10, featuring contemporary quilts made by Windsor County quilters and historic quilts from the museum’s collection. The restored Billings Farm Activity Barn will be transformed by a colorful display of finely crafted quilts. There will be quilting demonstrations and a scavenger hunt to challenge guests. Visitors can vote for their favorite large and small quilts to be selected for the People’s Choice Award. The virtual exhibition will feature contemporary quilts and interviews with the jurors about how the design, color, fabrics, and technical skills play a part in determining the winning quilts. billingsfarm.org/quilt-exhibition/
The first Billings Fiber Arts Series of the season offers a three-part Introduction to Hand Quilting for Ages 16+ on May 31, June 7, and June 14, 5:30 – 7:30PM. Upper Valley native and fiber and textile artisan Tiana St. James will share her quilting knowledge and quilters of all experience levels will gain valuable quilting insight. Participants will learn about materials, tools, and measurements and how to lay out and cut patterns and sew patchwork rows. Students will emerge with finished quilt squares and a deeper understanding of the quilting process. billingsfarm.org/fiberartsquiltingclass/
To acknowledge all the wonderful dads for Father’s Day on June 19th, there will be fun for the whole family and free admission for fathers. Families can participate in lawn games, three-legged and egg and spoon races, and a rousing game of historic base ball. Youngsters can make a paper plate ram or rooster craft.
At the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest, Midsummer Day will mark the unveiling of the new Farmstead Gardens on June 24th. The revitalized and expanded gardens will provide opportunities for exploration and will demonstrate sustainable techniques that are practical for home gardeners. Dynamic accent features like paths, trellises, archways, and tunnels will create a sense of wonder. Guests can rest on benches in the gardens, enjoy a picnic or play in the natural stump classroom.
The Billings Farmstead Gardens will feature five distinct garden spaces. History meets local heritage in The Heirloom Garden with plants selected from an 1886 Billings Farm seed order, including Vermont varieties: Bull Noes Peppers, Bear Paw Popcorn and Tall Telephone Peas. The Pollinator Garden invites bees, butterflies, birds, and beneficial insects to alight on perennial plants and flowers. The Chef’s Garden, including the Pizza and Victory Gardens, features delicious ingredients for fresh, healthy, home-grown meals. The Herb Garden is filled with herbs for cooking, tea and medicinal use in a mix of annuals and perennials. The Permaculture Garden is a low-maintenance garden that mimics the balance and beneficial relationships found in nature through perennial plantings.
Milk, cheese, and ice cream are just a few of the delicious products to celebrate during the Dairy Celebration on June 25 & 26. On Saturday, guests will receive a look behind-the-scenes at the care and grooming of show cows, as local youth prepare to compete in the Youth Invitational Dairy Show on Sunday. Visitors can learn all about dairy – from the producers to milk products and delve into Vermont’s rich dairy history. There will be Vermont-made ice cream for purchase at the Farmhouse Café and delicious Billings Farm Cheese samples available outside the Visitor Center. Guests can enjoy live music with the harmony and hip shaking of the Rose Hip Jam Band on Saturday, 12PM – 3PM. Throughout the weekend, there will be food trucks on site with Martha’s On a Roll, serving bistro sandwiches and gourmet melts on Saturday, 11AM – 4PM and then TRAIL BREAK Taps + Tacos serving tacos, street corn, chips and salsa, draft beer and margaritas on Sunday, 11AM – 4PM.
Dairy Week continues June 27 – July 1, with an exhibition of historic photographs and artifacts from the museum’s collections that tell the story of the dairy legacy at Billings Farm. There will be daily programs with Cow Programs at 11AM and 2PM, Children’s Storytime at 12PM and 4PM, Sheep Programs at 1PM and 3PM, and a Milking Demonstration in the Cow Barn at 3:15PM-5:00PM. Families can enjoy finding the cow stuffies hidden among the Farm Life Exhibits and follow the StoryWalk featuring “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper as page by page, the story unfolds on signs along the pasture fence.
With the end of the school year, Billings Farm camps will kick off. There is still room to register for Billings Bookworms Camp on June 27-July 1. This half-day camp, for ages 6-8 (entering 1st through 3rd grade), is an imaginative take on our Junior Farm Camp with a daily theme that connects stories to activities. Campers will meet the farm’s animals, churn cream to butter, and explore the National Park and Farmstead Gardens. billingsfarm.org/billings-bookworms/
Visitors can stroll along the beautiful pastures and Ottauquechee River to learn the story of the landscape and people who have shaped and changed Billings Farm over the years thanks to the newly installed Interpretive Signage along the Billings Walking Trail. The interpretive walk highlights the vital importance of the natural forest buffer near the river, the birth of Vermont’s dairy industry, and the legacy of responsible agriculture and stewardship of the land passed down through generations by the Abenaki people, George Aitkin, and the women in the Billings family.
The Billings Farm Volunteer Program is a way to make meaningful connections with the Billings community. Volunteers make new friends, share their enthusiasm for farming, rural life, gardening, and history, and learn new skills. There are a range of positions and timeslots available. Volunteers will greet guests, facilitate crafts, give out Billings Farm Cheese samples or assist with parking. New in June – Billings Farm is seeking volunteers to help maintain the new Billings Farmstead Gardens and assist with gardening, harvesting, and sharing the wonders of the garden with visitors. To get involved, please visit billingsfarm.org/volunteer/.