FORT WAYNE, IN — Several years ago, Fort Wayne, IN was gifted a 170-acre homestead with barns, outbuildings and the original house by the Salomon family. Since then, the Parks and Recreation Department have developed the property into a place of exploration by adding livestock, gardens, ponds, and festivals celebrating the agricultural heritage.
One of the most popular events is the Fiber Arts Celebration held annually on the second weekend of May with activities offered on Friday and Saturday. Fiber abounds, ranging from animals to finished products from their wool, mohair, or angora. The attendees are invited to visit the various buildings with vendors, demonstrations, and information about the myriad of processes involving the fiber.
The big barn is traditionally appreciated by guilds representing hand works. Each of these groups display finished products and offer the opportunity for the participants to try their hand at the needle work of choice. Crocheting, knitting, tatting, spinning, basket making, felting and weaving are the common demonstrations with a special presentation of antique tools owned by John Lindsey.
The animal residents of the farm are joined that weekend by sheep and alpacas. Currently, donkeys, sheep, goats and chickens live on the farm during the spring, summer and fall seasons. The acreage also boasts wooded areas and wetlands, encouraging wildlife.
Starting in the month of June, the Farmin’ Fun Day Camp is held at Salomon Farm for children four years of age and older. During the weekly sessions, the participants are exposed to life on a farm with caring for the animals and gardens, playing in the creek, making arts and crafts and exploring nature. The lessons learned are complemented with the memories made and friendships formed.
The different demonstration plots represent farming methods from the 1930s with a dedicated effort to collect period equipment to display and use. The Salomon family requested that the property be maintained as a working farm and the staff strives toward that goal with heirloom vegetables and herbs being grown along with prairie grass and crop fields.
A Farmer’s Market is held throughout the summer offering produce from the farm as well as local vendors selling their vegetables and fruit, herbs, plants, flowers, maple syrup, honey, and more. The funds collected from the sale of the farm’s harvest are applied toward the care of the property and the day camp.
To wrap up the fall season, a Harvest Festival is held in late September with activities to celebrate the American farm. The event includes music, hay rides, demonstrations of milking, churning, husking and threshing, an antique tractor show and parade, and visiting with the farm animals.
Salomon Farm is considered a public park in Fort Wayne and therefore available for the community to appreciate at any time. A 1.8 mile trail has been developed to offer people a chance to appreciate the farm and the neighboring YMCA property. The farm is also a lovely venue for wedding, receptions, family reunions, or any other group outing.
More information may be acquired by visiting the farm’s website at www.fortwayneparks.org/salomon.