By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2011
The Pumpkin Festival at Shepherd’s Cross is a favorite activity among kids of all ages.
Autumn is the season of harvest. What better place to celebrate this harvest than on a true working farm like Shepherd’s Cross? Located between Claremore and Sequoyah, two and a half miles east of Highway 66 on Akin Road, Shepherd’s Cross is a perfect place to take your family to enjoy the arrival of fall at the Pumpkin Festival, October 6-29.
Families will enjoy a host of fun activities throughout the last three weeks of October, like corn cob bowling, hay mazes, a petting zoo, tours across the 80-acre farm, and a 12-minute hayride down into the farm’s valley, which will be richly colored with fall foliage. Over 52,000 pounds of pumpkins will be for sale of all shapes and sizes, as well as other traditional fall produce used as decoration: straw bales, gourds and corn stalks. “This is a ‘No Fear Here’ event,” says Dr. Diane Dickinson, who owns and runs the farm with her husband, Peter. “There will simply be a sea of pumpkins and fun and games for kids.”
All proceeds from the event go to support the farm’s Christian mission. “Our heart is to teach about farms and why we need them,” says Dr. Dickinson. “The harvest teaches both about the harvest of food and the Lord of the Harvest.” The Pumpkin Festival is just one of many events throughout the year designed to further this mission. Other seasonal events include Spring Shepherding Tours, Wooly Weekend, and Christmas Living Nativity. The farm hosts year-round shepherding and garden tours; a shop featuring yarns and wool products from the farm’s 100 head of sheep; farm-fresh lamb, mutton and beef products from Shepherd’s Cross; crafts and other products by local artisans; books and much more. Upstairs above the shop, which is housed in an authentic, Amish-built barn with a gambrel roof, the loft is dedicated to education about agriculture and the making of wool products. Lessons are offered in spinning, drop spindle, wet felting and other fiber arts.
The lovely ground gardens, where herbs and produce abound, are included in the farm tour. All plants are clearly labeled, and “all relate to the Bible,” Dr. Dickinson says with a smile. She invites families to bring a picnic lunch and embrace all the ambience the farm has to offer. “Drop by for a whole day or for just an hour,” she says. “Come to the country for a peaceful respite from today’s busy life.”
Shepherd’s Cross is an accredited Agritourism facility made up of 100 percent natural, sustainable agriculture, and is a “Made in Oklahoma Company.” Tours are by appointment, and the shop is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours during special events. The farm is closed on holidays and from January to mid-March. For more information, visit their website at www.shepherdscross.com.