Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, Conn: -- Area families can enjoy a fun afternoon on the "farm" on Saturday, May 5 from 1-4 p.m. at Eastern Connecticut State University's Church Farm Center for the Arts and Sciences. Church Farm Family Day is for children of all ages! The event is free and open to the public.
Visitors to the farm, located at 396 Mansfield Rd. in Ashford, will engage in four interactive learning activities, including Environmental Sculpture, Nature Tokens/Monoprinting, Visual Journaling and Letterboxing, using their Church Farm Family Day "passport" to receive stamps that indicate which activities they have completed. The learning activities are being coordinated by students from Eastern's Education, Visual Arts and Education Departments, as well as the Visual Arts Club, the Education Club, and the Writing and Illustrating for Children and Young Adults Club.
In addition to the interactive play stations, visitors will treated to three visual exhibits of the history of the Church Farm, including "Women of the Church Farm," "Church Farm Then and Now" and "Life at the Church Farm," which will show original farm implements and the history of the farm site. This portion of the event was created by Elizabeth Peterson, director of Eastern's Akus Gallery and Barbara Tucker, director of Eastern's Center for Connecticut Studies.
The Church Farm Center for the Arts and Sciences was gifted to the ECSU Foundation, Inc., in 2007 by Joseph and Dorothy (Church) Zaring of Washington, D.C. The 110-acre farm had been in the Church family since the early 1800s. The original house was built in 1791 and was replaced with the present structure in 1821. The barn was built in 1895. The Church family ran a successful clothing store chain in Hartford, Danielson, Putnam and Willimantic in the late 1800s and early 20th century, and used the Ashford farm as their summer home. The farm is now on the National Historic Register.