Garden Bug Fall Festival offers hayrides and fun for all ages

Steve Brown, co-owner of the Garden Bug in Amsterdam, gives adults and children a hayride during the farm’s fall festival and car show on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

FLORIDA — While adults browsed the vendor booths, kids had some fun too at the Garden Bug’s fall festival Saturday on Fort Hunter Road.

Besides the bounce house — a staple for any festival — youths had a chance to schmooze with goats, donkeys and yaks from Ironwheel Farm in Fort Johnson, petting them and feeding them animal crackers.

“The biggest thing is to let the kids see them,” said Ironwheel’s owner, Andrew Opalka.

“Most of these kids don’t get to see, touch or even smell the animals.”

Angelica Todd of Duanesburg said she brought her daughter “to see the animals.” Carmela Fain and her husband, Joseph, of Middlebury weren’t too grown up to check out the donkeys. Carmela petted and fed them.

Some children, such as Fiona Pollack and Henri and Rafaele Lampkin, played with trucks in corn kernels.

Dolton Furman of Amsterdam sent a rubber duck down a slide using a hand pump.

And Steve Brown, co-owner of Garden Bug, gave adults and children rides on a hay cart pulled by a tractor.

Trisha Belknap of Johnstown, who brought her daughter Grace to see Santa here at Christmastime, said coming to the farm on Saturday gave her daughter another chance to play, also with the rubber ducks.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she added.

The festival overlapped with the farm’s car show, which gave participants more options.

“I got my car — a 1970 Chevy Nova — but these kids [two girls] like the bouncy house and duck race,” said Ted Russell of Glen.

Jackie Boyd of Fonda and Chris Watkins of Amsterdam were carrying two full plates of hotdogs over to the car show but pointed out that they were feeding their “hubbies” too.

“This is my first craft show,” said Diane Collins, who was selling Christmas trees, candle holders, cats, flowers and other ornamental items she made out of folded pages of books.

“I used to work with someone who did this, and I started doing it too,” she said.

“Everybody in my family is creative. My grandfather designed carpets for Mohawk Carpet Mills.”

Still new to the work, she said, “I haven’t had any luck thinking of a [business] name yet.”

Just across from her was Kimberly Meyer whose part-time startup business is The Pink Apron of Hagaman. “I have a passion for baking,” she said.

“I’m trying to start small and hope my business grows.”

Scones, cupcakes and cookies are among her wares.

By Josh Bovee

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